Leonardo da Vinci. Science before science

13 marzo > 30 giugno 2019
Ten of Leonardo’s original drawings accompany visitors as they view the more than 200 works, including historical models, precious manuscripts and drawings, rare books, prints, and paintings from prestigious museums in Italy and abroad. The exhibition is divided into sections, each exploring a distinct area addressed by Leonardo the thinker

This exhibition at the Scuderie del Quirinale, curated by Claudio Giorgione and staged in collaboration with the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Technologia Leonardo da Vinci and the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, offers the public a new vision of da Vinci’s work. A view that accentuates the fruitful web of cultural relations which permeated the engineering, art and thought of the 15th and 16th centuries, at the dawn of the scientific revolution that came to transform the vision of the modern world.

Beginning with his early years in Tuscany, followed by his long stay in Milan and through the late period in Rome, the exhibition analyzes Leonardo’s theoretical and technological work, spelling out his cultural connections with contemporaries, including Leon Battista Alberti, Francesco di Giorgio Martini, Luca Pacioli and Donato Bramante. The show offers a broad, many-layered vision of this larger-than-life personality, who is too often presented as an isolated genius.

Ten of Leonardo’s original drawings accompany visitors as they view the more than 200 works, including historical models, precious manuscripts and drawings, rare books, prints, and paintings from prestigious museums in Italy and abroad. The exhibition is divided into sections, each exploring a distinct area addressed by Leonardo the thinker: machines for major constructions; drawing and perspective as tools to investigate and represent the world; the art of both traditional and modernized war; fantastic devices such as flying machines; mechanical instruments for use in manufacturing; reflections on the ideal city and on waterways, and the rediscovery of the classical world. A separate section is devoted to Leonardo’s personal library, including the only book recognized as belonging to him that also features his handwritten annotations. The exhibition ends with a unique exploration of the birth and development over time of the myth of Leonardo.

Overall, the show aims to offer a new angle on the Tuscan artist, emphasizing the innovative aspects of his work and his cultural legacy: drawing as an instrument of analysis and communication, the capacity for astute observation and, most importantly, cross-disciplinary, flexible thinking: an idea of knowledge that establishes relationships and connections.