CELEBRATING LEONARDO

Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian polymath of the Rennaissance whose areas of interest included invention, drawing, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.he is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter, and tank, many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance Man”, an individual of “unquenchable curiosity” and “feverishly inventive imagination”, and he is widely considered one of the most diversely talented individuals ever to have lived.

You may have heard that on May 2nd, 2019, Italy and the world will honour the day, 500 years ago, when Leonardo da Vinci died.  There are a host of celebrations and exhibitions already taking place around the world, from Rome, London to New York and of course here in Florence. 

Currently showing in Florence at Palazzo Strozzi is the exhibition, ‘VERROCCHIO, IL MAESTRO DI LEONARDO’, a celebration of Andrea del Verrocchio, an emblematic artist of the Florentine Renaissance, whose workshop is associated with best-known artists, Domenico del Ghirlandaio, Botticelli, Perugino and his most famous pupil of all, Leonardo da Vinci.

This major exhibition, open until the 14th July 2019, reconstructs Leonardo’s early artistic career and interaction with his master, Verrocchio.

With a special section, also at the Museo Nazionale del Bargello, the exhibition showcases over 120 paintings, sculptures and drawings thanks to outstanding loans from the world’s leading museums and collections.

Seven works by Leonardo, some on display in Italy for the very first time illustrate the early career of Leonardo da Vinci, and the exhibition provides an overview of artistic works in Florence from roughly 1460 to 1490, the age of Lorenzo the Magnificent.

The exhibition is promoted and organised by the Fondazione Palazzo Strozzi and the Musei del Bargello in conjunction with the National Gallery in Washington DC (which will be hosting the show from 29 September 2019 to 2 February 2020) with the support of the Comune di Firenze, the Regione Toscana and the Camera di Commercio di Firenze.  With a contribution from the Fondazione CR Firenze.  Main sponsor : Intesa Sanpaolo.

Andrea del Verrocchio, Madonna and Child (detail), 1470 or c.1475 © Staatliche Museen zu Berlin, Gemäldegalerie/Christoph Schmidt

When Leonardo was 64, he left Italy for France in 1516 after his patron Giuliano de’Medici died. He was unwell and his hand too crippled to paint, but he and his admiring new patron, Francis I, the youthful king of France, became close friends who discussed everything from philosophy to art, architecture and engineering. 

In his Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects, Giorgio Vasari, writing in 1550, recorded that Leonardo actually died in the king’s arms, with the king “supporting his head to give him such assistance and do him such favour as he could, in the hope of alleviating his sufferings.” This account by Vasari inspired artists like Jean Auguste Dominique Ingres to paint, that death scene with the king in 1818. 

“The death of Leonardo,” Ingres, 1818

In his carefully researched ‘Leonardo Da Vinci, The Biography’ (Simon and Schuster, 2017). Walter Isaacson writes, “With Leonardo, nothing is so simple,” Leonardo was buried in the cloister of the Church of Saint Florentin at Amboise, “but the current location of his remains is another mystery,” writes Isaacson. The church was demolished in the early 19th C., and, although excavation decades later revealed bones, they are usually and cautiously described as Leonardo’s “presumed remains.”

The Leicester Codex of Leonardo da Vinci

One of the main events of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death begins this October at the Uffizi Galleries of Florence, with the exhibition “The Leicester Codex of Leonardo da Vinci: Water as Microscope of Nature.” The 72-page Codex, which discusses the movement of water, fossils, and moonlight (among other topics) is being loaned by Bill Gates, who purchased it in 1990 for over $30 million.

Florence is definitely the place to be this year to celebrate the genius that was Leonardo da Vinci!

VERROCCHIO IL MAESTRO DI LEONARDO

9 MARCH – 14 JULY, 2019

PALAZZO STROZZI – Daily 10.00 – 20.00, Thursdays 10.00 – 23.00 

Exhibition also open on Public Holidays. 

Reservations : +39 055 2469600 – prenotazioni@palazzostrozzi.org