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closed Around Leonardo. Graphic works from the Milanese collections

Curated by: Giovanna Mori, Alessia Alberti

The show

From 11 September to 15 December 2019, the Sala dei Ducali of the Sforzesco Castle in Milan hosts the exhibition "Around Leonardo. Graphic works from the Milanese collections". The exhibition, curated by Giovanna Mori and Alessia Alberti, fruit of the collaboration between the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana and the Castello Sforzesco, focuses on the fortune and the diffusion of some graphic inventions by Leonardo da Vinci, and is part of the program of "Leonardo never seen" which contains all the initiatives organized at the Castello Sforzesco, on the occasion of the celebrations of the 500th anniversary of the death of the Tuscan genius.

The exhibition presents nine precious and rare graphic works, created between the nineties of the fifteenth century and the end of the sixteenth century, able to tell the success of the subjects treated by Leonardo, which have left significant traces in the work of artists of his circle and for everyone. the following centuries, coming from Milanese institutions such as the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the "A. Bertarelli" Collection of Prints and the Drawing Cabinet of the Castello Sforzesco.

The itinerary starts from the Testa di Leda (around 1504-1506), a drawing belonging to the civic collections of the Castello Sforzesco. The sheet, an autograph by Leonardo, subsequently retouched by the students, is a study in red pencil that fixes the image of the face of the mythical Leda, for whose love Jupiter turned into a swan and from whose union the Dioscuri were born, then continues with three tables of the so-called “vincian knots”, burin-engraved decorative motifs starting from Leonardo's inventions, made in his workshop in the mid-nineties of the fifteenth century and today very few examples are known. The complete series of the six "Vincent's knots" is kept in the collections of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan. The refined graphic works on intertwining games will be particularly appreciated by the public coming from the nearby Sala delle Asse, where through the show of lights and virtual projections the geometries formed by the knots that intertwine with the mulberry branches are highlighted, the tree that celebrated the political wisdom of Ludovico il Moro. Peculiar to Leonardo are, moreover, the "character heads", and the influence of these in the portraiture of the artists of his time was very significant. Along the way you will encounter an evocative drawing with two grotesque heads - unpublished, already attributed to the engraver originally from Prague, Wenzeslaus Hollar (1607-1677) but perhaps a work of the late sixteenth century - and a study in black pencil by Giovanni Agostino da Lodi (1500 -1519 circa), with a bearded male head, strongly evocative of the research on facial expressions in the Cenacle in Santa Maria delle Grazie.

The exhibition ends with a focus on the horse motif, here documented through three very rare burins, on watermarked papers, made between the end of the fifteenth and the beginning of the sixteenth century by Giovanni Antonio da Brescia (active between the end of the fifteenth and the first quarter of the 16th century). The sheets depict studies of horses for equestrian monuments which are most likely associated with projects for Francesco Sforza and Gian Giacomo Trivulzio. "

Around Leonardo "is part of the" Milano Leonardo 500 "program, promoted by the Municipality of Milan | Culture on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci.

Works on display

Timetable and tickets


Piazza Castello
20121 Milan


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