Thursday, 24 November 2011

Painter at the court of Milan

The landmark Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in London, which examines his career as a painter in Milan, is thought to be one of the most popular art exhibitions ever. The National Gallery is showing more than half of all the surviving da Vinci paintings and seven paintings which have never been shown publicly before. These, alongside many drawings, offer a unique opportunity to compare his works and understand his influences.
I won't be able to travel to London to see it and I believe that tickets are now scarce so I was very pleased to see the exhibition catalogue book arrive in the OPU office last week.
The book focuses on the period in the 1480s and 1490s when Leonardo was working as a salaried court artist to Duke Ludovico Sforza in Milan. During this time, freed from the commercial pressures of Florence, Leonardo produced some of his most influential work. The book has large glossy illustrations and detailed analyses of these - his two versions of The Virgin of the Rocks, The Last Supper and The Lady with an Ermine together with details and drawn studies.
There are essays on Leonardo's service to the Duke of Milan, his painting technique and studies of other works in the catalogue.
Leonardo set a new standard when he was in Milan; his style became the visual language of the regime through his ideals of beauty and his theories of expression and character.

Leonardo da Vinci: painter at the court of Milan by Luke Syson (et al) is at NLS shelfmark OP4.211.2 and the National Gallery exhibition runs until 5th February 2012.

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