2019 marks the quincentenary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci and museums and galleries around the world are honouring him with special exhibitions and tributes. As a result Tuscany, where the great Italian Renaissance master was born and where he lived for most of his life, couldn’t obviously remain behind in this commemoration. Let’s take a look at just some of the many events on in Tuscany this year.
The first to kick off the celebrations was Palazzo Achille in San Marcello Pistoiese up on the tall mountains of Pistoia. The Eco-Museum, in fact, inaugurated on January 11th an exhibition of Leonardo’s machines, recreating a vast selection of models. The intent is to present and investigate Leonardo’s studies in combination with this territory and the Eco-Museum’s itineraries. Furthermore, visitors will be able to test their own dexterity with wooden games made from Leonardo’s designs. The show closes on September 1st.
Likewise, Palazzo Vecchio in Florence started its commemorations by offering visitors a special itinerary dedicated to the Battle of Anghiari. Open from February 23rd to January 12th, 2020, this multimedia event intends to retrace the story of how Leonardo failed to complete the painting of the Battle of Anghiari on the wall of the hall known today as the Salone del Cinquequento.
Palazzo Strozzi in Florence, instead, is hosting from March 9th to July 14th the exhibition “Verrocchio, Master of Leonardo”. This exhibit gathers together the extraordinary masterpieces of painter, sculptor, goldsmith and designer Andrea del Verrocchio and those of his pupils, Leonardo da Vinci, Pietro Perugino, Domenico Ghirlandaio and Lorenzo di Credi. Verrocchio’s workshop in Florence influenced generations of masters during the 15th century, both in Italy and Europe. On show will be over 120 works, including paintings, sculptures and drawings, from important collections from all over the world: the Victoria and Albert museum of London, the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, the Musée du Louvre in Paris, the Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam, and the Uffizi Galleries of Florence.
From March 29th, Palazzo Vecchio will be hosting an exhibition celebrating the Florentine essence of Leonardo da Vinci. The show “Leonardo da Vinci and Florence. Folios chosen from the Codex Atlanticus.” will be held in the Sala dei Gigli, and offers a selection of papers on which Leonardo made a series of written or graphic annotations related to enterprises, memories and relationships with Florence in a period that goes from the 1470s to his death in 1519. On until June 24th.
Pontedera in the province of Pisa is to host from April 1st to May 4th an exhibition on Leonardo’s Mona Lisa especially dedicated to the visually impaired and to the blind. As part of the celebrations of the 500th death anniversary, Pontedera has organized a 1:1 scale reproduction of da Vinci’s most famous portrait in Sala Carpi. People will be able to discover the masterpiece by simply touching it. There will also be a descriptive text in Braille and an audio description.
The Casa Rodolfo Siviero Museum along Florence’s Lungarno is hosting from May 18th to September 29th the exhibition “The Leonardo of Giorgio Castelfranco and the 20th-century Cult of Genius”. On display the archives of Giorgio Castelfranco, today conserved at the Harvard University Center for Italian Renaissance Studies. Castelfranco was an art historian and one of Leonardo’s greatest and above all most passionate scholar, who also happened to be director of Palazzo Pitti during the two WWs as well as a resident in Casa Siviero. Most importantly, this is undoubtedly a unique chance to see the documents and photographs of this archive while grasping the chance to admire the objects of art which are a permanent exhibition of the house.
Still in Florence, the Complex of Santa Maria Novella, will be hosting from September 13th to December 15th an exhibition on “Botany and Leonardo: Synthesis between Art and Nature”. On show the original scripts of Leonardo’s investigations on the shapes and structures of plants and their relationship with art and science. Many of the implications he made then are today still very valid and it is certainly a privilege to visit this show and witness his acute spirit of observation.
Keep your eyes on this article because it will be continuously updated as the year goes by.