LEONARDO, ORIGINS OF A GENIUS

Risultati immagini per leonardo la scienza prima della scienza


"Leonardo da Vinci. La Scienza Prima della Scienza", a major exhibition currently running at the Scuderie del Quirinale exhibition hall in Rome, to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of the renaissance genius, gives a new prospective towards understanding one of the greatest minds of western civilization.

The enigmatic title alludes to the fact that Leonardo is usually depicted as a genius who emerged miraculously out of nowhere and nothing. The reality however, is different. Leonardo was influenced by the works and studies of many of his contemporaries, which he elaborated and carried forward in search of the correct or ideal result. The exhibition, therefore takes a novel slant, analyzing the scientific intuition of an era that was unique in producing multi-tasking maestri who set the foundations for the modern era. Organized together with the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci, Milan and the Venerando Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan, visitors can examine over two hundred works by, or connected with, Leonardo, including ten original hand-drawn designs of the celebrated Atlantic Code, rarely available for public viewing, as well as a selection of historic models of his inventions, many on show for the first time after restoration .

Alongside the models of Leonardo's many "machines" and inventions, therefore, we can view the studies and designs of other Renaissance "Giants", like Sangallo, Ghiberti, il Taccola, Filarete, Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio, Luca Pacioli and others, all of whom contributed to the formation of the unique intuition and polymath talents of Leonardo.

Leonardo himself wrote that he was "unschooled", but any lack of education or theoretical preparation was compensated by an ardent curiosity,  exceptional gifts of analysis and intuition, as well as a special talent for draughtsmanship and design.

The ten rooms of the exhibition follow Leonardo's career, from his apprenticeship with Verrocchio, working on Florence Cathedral, where he laid his foundations in the science of engineering and follows with his studies of the architecture of ancient monuments and the theories of proportions  developed in the Vitruvius Man. In Milan, where Leonardo arrived in 1482, his attention became directed towards city planning and water channeling. Here, one of the most fascinating exhibits is the original wooden doors of the San Marco sluice gate on the Naviglio canal, which were still in use until 1929. Leonardo's inventions, set around the reconstructed models from the National Museum of Science and Technology Leonardo da Vinci in Milan, occupy the main body of the exhibition. It seems that Leonardo, as a true renaissance man, turned his hand to everything: from the celebrated "Flying Machines", to diving apparatus, from instruments of war to moving floats for the lavish festivals organized at the court of Ludovico il Moro, as well as hydraulic winches and saws and manufacturing machines for the silk and cording industries.

In the middle of all this activity, he was also painting unrivalled masterpieces like "The Last Supper"  and the portrait of il Moro's mistress, Cecilia Gallerani, better known as "The Lady with an Ermine". However, it is interesting to note that Leonardo was known almost exclusively as an artist for some three centuries after his death. It was only when the Atlantic Codes, which had been spirited away from Milan to Paris by Napoleon, as part of his booty of Italian art, finally became available for study and were published in the late 19th century, that the full extent of Leonardo's genius was revealed.

Margaret Stenhouse

 

"Leonardo da Vinci, la Scienza Prima della Scienza"

(Leonardo da Vinci, Science before Science) runs until the 30th June 2019.

During April and May 2019, a programme of free special events relating to the exhibition are programmed in Villa Medici (17th April), Liceo Visconti-Wunder Musaeum (14th May) and the Accademia di San Luca (23rd May).

For all information: www.scuderiequirinale.it

 

 

 



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10 Apr 2019