Milan and Leonardo, presented the program of celebrations for 2019: many exhibitions on the Renaissance genius

Presented in Milan the 'Milan and Leonardo' program, a schedule of exhibitions and events that in 2019 will celebrate the 500th anniversary of the passing of the Renaissance genius.

The city’s program for the 2019 celebrations, the year in which the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci, 1452 - Amboise, 1519) falls, has been presented in Milan. It is a program titled Milan and Leonardo, which sees exhibitions and events focusing mainly on the relationship between Leonardo and the Lombard capital, where the artist arrived in 1482 in the service of Ludovico il Moro (he would later stay in the city until 1500). Milan and Leonardo, states a note, is “a union that goes far beyond the title of the palimpsest of initiatives that the city is dedicating to the 500th anniversary of the death of the most eclectic genius in history. No other city has had the privilege of such a long and fruitful presence. A bond that lasted about 20 years, during his mature years, while Leonardo was exploring all fields of knowledge and was able to offer Duke Ludovico il Moro the best of his creative ability. Many are the traces of his activity in Milan, countless are the suggestions and intangible legacies he left us, numerous are the interventions on the territory that have come down to us, which we still look at with amazement and wonder: from the navigation system of the Lombard Navigli to the Last Supper in the Refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie, from the Portrait of a Musician to the graphic and pictorial invention of the Sala delle Asse at the Castello Sforzesco.” The program will kick off in May 2019, last until January 2020, and will have its heart in the Castello Sforzesco, where the Sala delle Asse is located, which will be extraordinarily reopened to the public on May 2, 2019 (exactly 500 years after Leonardo’s death) after a long period of study and restoration, which began in 2013 (but was suspended during the six months of Expo 2015 to allow more than 355,000 visitors to admire one of Leonardo’s masterpieces).

May 2 will also represent the official launch of Milan and Leonardo. Until January 2, 2020, a multimedia path will be set up in the Hall of Arms that will take the visitor to Leonardo’s Milan: visitors will be able to discover the Milan of the late 15th century, but not only, because the path also aims to spur the public to visit the Milan of today to find links and connections with that of Ludovico il Moro, and by visiting the places (museums, churches, buildings) that contain evidence of the period. A few days later, there will be the opening of the exhibition Leonardo and the Hall of Axes between Nature, Art and Science, scheduled from May 16 to August 18, 2019 in the Ducal Chapel. The exhibition will make it possible to identify the iconographic and stylistic relationships between the artistic decorations of the Sala delle Asse and the figurative culture of other masters from Tuscany, the transalpine countries, and Milan itself, thanks to a selection of original drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo and other Renaissance artists from important Italian and foreign institutions.

There will be two Leonardo-themed exhibitions at the Royal Palace. The first is The Wonderful World of Nature Before and After Leonardo, which focuses on how Leonardo was able to change the perception and representation of nature in 16th-century Lombardy. The exhibition, scheduled from March 4 to June 23, 2019, will follow the traces of Leonardo’s legacy until roughly 1570, the date in which Paolo Lomazzo’s San Marco altarpiece is placed. Also crucial will be the relationship with the Museum of Natural History, where the reference to natural elements (stuffed animals, fossils, minerals) can add meaning to the understanding of the works of art. The second exhibition, titled Leonardo’s Supper for Francis I: A Masterpiece in Silk and Silver, scheduled from Oct. 7, 2019 to Jan. 23, 2020, will present for the first time after its restoration the copy of Leonardo’s Last Supper made in tapestry between 1505 and 1510 on commission from Louise of Savoy and Francis Duc d’Angouleme, later King Francis I of France. The tapestry, which was probably woven in Flanders on a cartoon by a Lombard artist (perhaps Bramantino), represents one of the earliest copies of Leonardo’s masterpiece, made to meet the needs of the French court, which intended to carry the image of a work that could in no way be transported. Donated in 1533 to Pope Clement VII, the tapestry returned to Italy and has never left the Vatican Museums since.

At the National Museum of Science and Technology (which, by the way, is named after Leonardo da Vinci himself) there will be the Leonardo da Vinci Parade, an initiative curated and produced by the Museum in collaboration with the Pinacoteca di Brera: it is an exhibition that puts in dialogue, in an unprecedented overview, historical models and frescoes by Lombard painters of the 16th century, granted on deposit in 1952 by Fernanda Wittgens, then director of the Pinacoteca, to Guido Ucelli, founder of the Museum. An unusual “parade” in which models and frescoes perform on the Museum’s stage, in an unusual juxtaposition of art and science. An itinerary that will make it possible to traverse Leonardo’s different fields of interest and study on the subject of engineering and technology, enhancing the historical collection with which the Museum opened to the public in 1953, on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of his birth.

At the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana there will be a special program to enhance the heritage of works by Leonardo da Vinci and Leonardo’s artists: four exhibitions with a high scholarly profile that will begin as early as December 2018, with a project dedicated to the drawings made by Leonardo and the artists of his circle, while in March 2019 an exhibition dedicated to the Codex Atlanticus curated by the College of Doctors of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana will offer 23 of the collection’s most significant folios (from engineering and military studies, to architectural plans, to the famous studies for the flying machine, tracing the artist’s career in its near totality, from his Florentine years to his last period spent in France in the service of Francis I). And it is precisely on this theme that the third review, curated by Pietro C. Marani (one of the world’s leading experts on Leonardo da Vinci), who will present a selection of 23 folios from the Codex Atlanticus datable to Leonardo’s French sojourn. It will thus be an in-depth study of the last years of the master’s activity, with the aim of producing a publication that includes all the sheets of the Codex datable to this period. In September, the exhibition cycle will conclude with a second exhibition dedicated to the most famous folios of the Codex Atlanticus, in continuity with the previous one and always curated by the Collegio dei Dottori of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

Palazzo Litta in autumn 2019 will host the exhibition La corte del gran maestro. Leonardo da Vinci, Charles d’Amboise the neighborhood of Porta Vercellina, which will pay homage to the figure of the patron Charles d’Amboise and, thanks to the exhibition of two sheets of the Atlantic Codex in which Leonardo traces the design of the block of his Milanese residence (today’s Palazzo Litta), will reconstruct through unpublished nineteenth-century material the appearance of the Porta Vercellina neighborhood (Corso Magenta) in Leonardo’s time. Again, theEnte Raccolta Vinciana will organize an international study conference on the last decade of Leonardo da Vinci’s life at the Royal Palace between November and December 2019.

There will also be space forcontemporary art: between April and June 2019 the Stelline Foundation will host the exhibition The Last Supper after Leonardo, which will emphasize how Leonardo da Vinci was (and still is) a source of inspiration for artists of different cultural traditions, such as Anish Kapoor, Nicola Samorì, Wang Guangyi, Yue Minjun, and Zhang Huan.

Not only exhibitions: the Piccolo Teatro di Milano has programmed the project The Miracle of Dinner, a Piccolo Teatro production that will see in fall 2019 actress Sonia Bergamasco reading (both at the Cenacolo Vinciano Museum and at Teatro Grassi) writings, notes and notes by Fernanda Wittgens, an art historianart historian who became a crucially important figure both in the work of protecting the Pinacoteca di Brera and major Milanese sites and monuments and in passionately advocating the urgency of their reconstruction. To Leonardo’s Last Supper and its restoration after deep wartime wounds she gave a fundamental tribute that she describes as “an amount of life force” sacrificed, for eight years, to Leonardo. Another production, to be staged in January 2019, is dedicated to children and the passion for flying, and is entitled Il volo di Leonardo: written, directed and performed by Flavio Albanese, the project will tell the life, vicissitudes, miracles and secrets of humanity’s greatest genius and, above all, the reason for his desire to fly. Finally, the Piccolo Teatro Studio Melato, from May 2 to 5, 2019, will host the show Essere Leonardo da Vinci. An Impossible Interview, directed and performed by Massimiliano Finazzer Flory. The interview, written in a language that reconstructs the spoken language of the Renaissance era, will be conducted by Gianni Quillico and Jacopo Rampini, while the script is built on Leonardo’s original texts, particularly from the Treatise on Painting.

The program of “Milan and Leonardo,” in close connection with the National Committee for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, is realized thanks to the action of the Coordinating Committee “Milan and the Legacy of Leonardo 1519-2019”- established by the Municipality of Milan|Culture, Lombardy Region|Directorate General for Autonomy and Culture and the Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities and Tourism (Regional Secretariat for Lombardy and Polo Museale Regionale della Lombardia) - and the Territorial Committee (Milan and Lombardy), which hosts other institutions involved in the implementation of initiatives to enhance Leonardo’s legacy: Ente Raccolta Vinciana, Museo Nazionale Scienza e Tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci,” Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Basilica di Santa Maria delle Grazie, Fondazione Stelline, Triennale di Milano, Comune di Vaprio d’Adda and Comune di Vigevano.

Pictured: a sheet of the Codex Atlanticus.

Milan and Leonardo, presented the program of celebrations for 2019: many exhibitions on the Renaissance genius
Milan and Leonardo, presented the program of celebrations for 2019: many exhibitions on the Renaissance genius

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