Do you want to celebrate with us the genius of Leonardo da Vinci?
Go to Florence!
Leonardo da Vinci died 500 hundred years ago in the castle of Clos-Lucé in France. Although he had been away from Florence for ten years, he felt a close attachment to his city until the end. All his life he called himself a ‘Florentine painter’: in his will he indicated that he wished to be buried at the ‘church of Saint-Florentin of Amboise’; the year before his death, he dedicated one of his last writings to the menagerie of lions behind the Palazzo Vecchio.
The page on the symbolic animal of Florence testifies to a still vivid memory and bears the significant date of 24 June 1518, the day of the city’s patron saint. It is in the name of this connection that the city now renders him homage with the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci and Florence: Selected Pages from the Codex Atlanticus. On display at the Palazzo Vecchio – still today the most representative site of the city, as it was in the artist’s time – are twelve handwritten folios by Leonardo, from the esteemed Biblioteca Ambrosiana. The exhibition is curated by Cristina Acidini and runs from 29 March to 24 June 2019.
Sponsored by the City of Florence, it is organized by Mus.e with the valuable contribution of ENGIE, a world player in energy and services, with activities aimed at making them a leader in the energy transition to zero CO2 emissions. Preserved in the historic library of Milan, the Codex Atlanticus contains 1119 folios, mostly of writings and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. This extraordinary graphic treasure is by no means unknown: in addition to the complete editions which followed the first one by the Accademia dei Lincei in 1884, scholars throughout the world have studied and published a number of its pages.
In addition, since the meticulous restoration work on the Codex in 2008, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana has organized 24 exhibitions based on various themes regarding Leonardo’s multifarious interests. These displays highlighted the extent and nature of his genius, which Cristina Acidini characterises as ‘sublime, versatile and diffuse’ in her delightful introduction to the catalogue.