Leonardo, a timeless man

500 years and his age doesn’t show

A handsome man and utter brilliance. Even since he was a child, when Verrocchio said he wanted him to model for his David: a slender frame and a gaze that was always inquiring. Half a millennium since his death, Leonardo (1452-1519) remains the only scientist, engineer and, when needed, painter (as he noted in letter introducing himself to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico il Moro, in 1482, leaving Florence and his unfinished Adoration of the Magi for the monks of San Donato in Scopeti), whose intuitions are still valid today, like his hydraulic engineering works, locks and detention basins, which he designed to manage the Arno’s frequent flooding, or flight, which he experimented with on Monte Ceceri in Fiesole and which he wrote a treatise about. It was left unfinished, like most of his works. But Leonardo, who wrote in a palindromic manner, from both right and left, was and remains even now a man of the future, an attentive observer of nature and the human body, who studied at the Hospital of Santa Maria Nuova, not to mention a man of the world who often returned to Florence, in the houses that are today in Palazzo Gondi and Liceo Galilei. A native of Anchiano in Vinci and the illegitimate son of Ser Piero, he received an on-and-off education. He didn’t know Latin, but he studied Vitruvius and Pliny. And when, in 1503, Pier Soderini called upon him to fresco the Battle of Anghiari in Palazzo Vecchio, he experimented with the Roman technique of hot wax painting. In that period, he also created the Mona Lisa, perfecting another one of his inventions: atmospheric perspective, because he understood that atmosphere has a body, that it’s not a void, as he had hinted at with the angel in Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ and his early Annunciation.

Water as Microscope of Nature.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester
October 29, 2018 – January 20, 2019
Tuesday to Sunday    |   8.15am – 6.50pm

Gallerie degli Uffizi
Piazzale degli Uffizi, 6   |   50122 Firenze


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