Leonardo da Vinci: Maestro del Disegno at the Court of Milan

Although Leonardo is commonly associated with Florence, the so called cradle of the Renaissance, he spent 18 of the most productive years of his life in Milan and produced some of his most iconic work in this city under the patronage of Il Moro, the Duke of Milan – Ludovico Sforza.  Under the patronage of Sforza, Leonardo would not only find fame for the first time, but also the freedom and space to indulge his interest in nature, art and science.
This lecture will start by tracing Leonardo’s early  years as an apprentice in the workshop of the Florentine Renaissance Master Andrea del Verrocchio; leading up to those 18 years of sublime production in the city of Milan.  The lecture will look at Leonardo’s experiments, his growing fascination with human dissection, which begins in Milan, the protracted and complex episode of the ‘Madonna of the Rocks’, and his relationship with Ludovico Sforza the fruits of which would result in iconic images such as the ‘Lady with the Ermine’ (Cecilia Gallerani, c.1491) the mysterious ‘Portrait of a Woman’ (Belle Ferronnière’, about 1493-4).
From the genesis of the ‘Last Supper’, traced in preliminary drawings and sketches to the latest discovery of the previously miss-attributed Leonardo known as the ‘Salvator Mundi’ shown in the recent high-profile National Gallery Exhibition, this lecture take us on a journey as we travel with the itinerant genius from humble beginnings in the small town of Vinci to eventual fame as the Master of Design – Maestro del Disegno at the Court of Milan.

Short Bibliographic Reading List:

Brown, David Alan, Leonardo Da Vinci: Origins of a Genius (Yale University Press, 1998)
Clayton, Martin, Leonardo da Vinci: The Divine and the Grotesque, (Royal Collection Enterprises Ltd, 2002)
Franklin, D, Leonardo Da Vinci, Michelangelo, and the Renaissance in Florence (National Gallery of Canada, 2005)
Kemp, Martin, and Kenneth Clark, Leonardo Da Vinci (Penguin, 1993)
Kemp, Martin, Leonardo Da Vinci: The Marvellous Works of Nature and Man (Oxford University Press, 2006)
Kemp, Martin, Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design, (V&A Publications, 2006)
Syson, Luke, with Keith, Larry, Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, (National Gallery Company London, 2011)


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© Leslie Primo