Today the French museum opens the maximum exhibition in history around the pictorial work of the Italian genius, on the occasion of the 500 years of his death. What the analysis of his notebooks and the use of infrared reflectology in his paintings reveal about his life and his creative process
By Juan BatallaOctober 24, firstname.lastname@example.org Share on FacebookShare Share on TwitterTweet Share on WhatsAppShareThe Louvre celebrates Da Vinci with the largest exhibition of his painting #Mundo
Polymath, uomo universale , revolutionary, great. They do not reach adjectives when it comes to Leonardo Da Vinci , who died 500 years ago, and who as of today has one of the most impressive exhibitions that have been held in his honor.
The Parisian Louvre Museum, home of La Gioconda -which returned to its place after modifications in the space-, houses a dozen paintings, a hundred drawings, notebooks, sculptures and an unpublished display of infrared images, which allow not only inquire into the Florentine's creative process, but also into unknown aspects of his private life and behavior.
“La Gioconda”, the famous work of the Italian painter Leonardo da Vinci, is exhibited in the newly renovated room of the Louvre museum behind bulletproof glass (EFE / Christophe Petit Tesson)
The life and work of Da Vinci, one of the most transcendental geniuses of humanity, has been the subject of countless studies, although this time new conclusions and approaches are presented, as in the case of the use of infrared, which has led to the proves to be one of the events globally, with more than 200,000 tickets reserved before its opening.
One of the main axes of the exhibition is the artist's pictorial side, who left around 20 works in his 67 years, all significant: five belong to France -where he died- and are from the permanent exhibition of the Louvre: La Gioconda ; La Belle Ferronière ; The Virgin of the rocks ; The Virgin, the Child Jesus and Saint Anne , and Saint John the Baptist .
The rest belong to seven in Italy, distributed between the Vatican and various public collections; and nine are in large European and American institutions. The Queen of England lent her collection of 24 drawings , although exceptional loans were also made by the British Museum, the National Gallery in London, the Vatican Museums, the New York Metropolitan, the Gallery of the Venetian Academy and the Hermitage in Saint Petersburg.
“The Virgin, the Child and Saint John the Baptist” (EFE / EPA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON)
Only during the first two months does the very delicate Vitruvian Man appear , whose loan was blocked at the beginning of the month by the Italian Justice due to the conflict that arose with France, when the artist's country of origin wanted to carry out the large exhibition in his land and not in France. There will also be the one known as Burlington House Carton loaned by the National Gallery of London, the oil painting of St. Jerome , from the Vatican, or La Scapiliata , from the National Gallery of Parma.
Of course, not all the paintings that are preserved by Leonardo can be exhibited, since -for example- The Adoration of the Magi or the fresco of The Last Supper cannot be displaced due to their fragility.
Nor is the most famous version of Salvator Mundi to be found , his “lost painting” dated 1500, rediscovered in 2005 and auctioned in 2017 in New York as the most expensive painting ever sold, for 400 million euros, although there are still doubts that the work is really Leonardo's. Controversy aside, the piece is owned by the crown prince of Saudi Arabia, Mohammed bin Salmán , who received it as a gift. The painting will remain on his private yacht for the duration of the exhibition, although it had been made explicit that the work was going to be exhibited at the Louvre in Abu Dhabi.
“Leda” (EFE / EPA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON)
“The objective of the exhibition is to show that Da Vinci never abandoned painting and that, on the contrary, with all the many occupations that he had in his life, he never left it aside,” said Vincent Delieuvin , curator of the exhibition along with to Louis Frank .
In addition, about twenty of his scientific writings are presented from an approach that reveals how his interest in vegetation or astronomy was also related to an enrichment of his pictorial knowledge.
Leonardo Da Vinci's sketchbooks are also part of the exhibition that will run until February 24, 2020 ((EFE / EPA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON)
“I am often told that Da Vinci was not most interested in painting because he painted very little, but precisely what we explain is that it is a unique and unprecedented approach. He never wanted to be a productive artist but was a man of unprecedented demand, who needed to understand the world in its essence ”, said Delieuvin, who argued that many times the work on a work lasted sometimes for ten and fifteen years and that this led him to leave work unfinished.
“To prepare each one of his paintings he needs a time of scientific work, perfecting his pictorial technique before starting with the brush,” he added.
The French curator Vincent Delieuvin during the presentation of the exhibition to the media, in front of the work “Portrait of an unknown woman” or “La Belle Ferronniere” (EFE / EPA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON)
Da Vinci's workshop
He presents her for the first time to the public infrared reflectologies, that is, the examination by means of infrared radiation of her paintings, which allows to complete the retrospective with the total of her work. In this sense, reflectology reveals the artist's transition throughout his entire career, who little by little was eliminating more and more matter from his paintings to focus on an imperceptible transition of light and shadow. The joint exhibition of his preparatory drawings, painting and reflectology generate a total look at his pictorial work
“Infrared passes through matter and reveals the first drawings that Leonardo put on paper. The entire history of the painting is revealed in the infrared, including the modifications, and when we see these images we see the whole of the painter's work and the improvement of his work, “Delieuvin told EFE .
A visitor observes the reflectology study of “The Mona Lisa” (EFE / EPA / CHRISTOPHE PETIT TESSON)
The Louvre also shows some works by his contemporaries, both his teacher and his apprentices, to defend that, despite the uniqueness, Da Vinci “was not an extraterrestrial”, but a man of his time who listened, observed and finally perfected what he had learned from others.
About his private life
Another of the outstanding spaces is the one that investigates his intimate life, his homosexual behavior during his youth being an object of study in development. Some works present in the Louvre, such as Saint John the Baptist, can be read as tributes or veiled portraits of a lover, the specialists explained.
Sophie Chauveau , Leonardo's biographer, told ABC : “Hidden for a long time, Leonardo's homosexuality is no longer taboo. In the Florence of his time, men lived among themselves. And homosexuality is not a secret. Leonardo frequented the Florentine hill of Contado, where it is known that there were male brothels. Leonardo was a very beautiful man, who did not mind paying to give and receive pleasure. Many of their relationships had no tomorrow. The memory of a name remains, Salai… the real name of that 'little devil' was Gian Giacomo Caprotti, a ten-year-old boy… ”.