20 April 2015

Leonardo, the Tuscan-Milanese genius. Milan hosts the biggest exhibition on him the world has ever seen.

L  E  O  N  A  R  D  O
 Tuscan and Milanese genius

Milano hosts the biggest exhibition on him 
 the world has ever seen 

Milano had the duty to offer him such a solemn and rich welcome, right during the Universal Exposition, which will attract people from all over the world. Why Milano? Well, because it was his city: the one that welcomed him in his 30s in a moment of productivity and innovation; the one that gave him total freedom of expression; the one he chose to live in. During those years of the 15th Century, a feeling was born between the man who became symbol of the universal genius and the city that allowed him to become such. His contemporaries from Milano already recognized his natural, sharp talent. 

Above, the 7 paintings exhibited in Milano. They are all very well-known, but some of them are not normally easy to find. From the top: “The Annunciation”, a work shared with Lorenzo di Credi and whose attribution is still uncertain, from the Pistoia Cathedral. “The Dreyfuss Madonna”, landed by the National Gallery of Washington. “St Jerome in the Wilderness”, from the Vatican Museums. “La Belle Ferronière”, a jewel from the Louvre Museum. “Portrait of a Musician” from the Ambrosiana Art Gallery in Milan. “St John the Baptist”, kept at the Louvre Museum. “Lady with an Ermine”, the portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, lover of Ludovico il Moro, from the Czartoryski Museum in Krakow.

His eccentric and uncommon abilities were put to the test right at the court of Ludovico il Moro, in the artistic and music field but also in the engineering, technical, civilian and military ones, actually in every field of the human knowledge. Besides organizing parties at court when he first arrived in the Castle, Ludovico was constantly carrying out researches aimed to improve war techniques and support the development of a city permanently engaged in defence and conquest campaigns. Leonardo’s ideas were immediately taken into high consideration, given their great contribution to Ludovico Maria Sforza’s power machine and to the flourishing and expanding of his lands.

During those long 18 years, Leonardo was able to reach his current status of genius, starting from the works he left: hundreds of drawings, some paintings and a few frescos. He managed to combine successfully the numerous cognitive resources and materials offered by the city of Milano, in its many laboratories of applied arts and artisan workshops, innovative in terms of manufacture techniques and refined as for beauty and precision. He set the tone of modern scientific methods thanks to his experimental abilities and thirst for knowledge. His strong intuition and endless curiosity opened the way for many fields of theoretical and practical knowledge, while his innate communication skills were best expressed in his drawings and paintings.

In the Milanese exhibition at the Royal Palace you will find much of what has been described so far. It took 5 years of preparatory study and 4 millions of euros to realize it. The highest possible number of Leonardo’s works was collected and exhibited next to contemporary works. The works are surrounded by interpretative paths in the beautiful rooms of the palace, in a well-realized set up.
A great effort for a result definitely beyond expectation.

Enrico Mercatali

Milan, 15th April 2015
(traduzione dell'italiano di Penelope Mirotti)

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