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Author Bio: Pietro C. Marani is one of the world's foremost scholars on Leonardo da Vinci and author of more than 30 volumes and numerous essays and articles on the artist and his period. He is former vice-director of the Brera Museum in Milan, and a codirector of the recent restoration of Leonardo's Last Supper. He is now professor of modern art at the Politecnico di Milano.
This book was born of the necessity to reconsider the development of Leonardo da Vinci's art in the light of the latest studies and recent proposals concerning attribution, chronology, and interpretation of his works. These must be reexamined in depth, from his apprenticeship in Verrocchio's shop to his first autonomous works, and from his mature years in Lombardy to his withdrawal within himself in France, as seen in his late works. This volume is, thus, neither a biography of the artist nor a catalogue of his works, but rather an interpretive essay on the evolution of Leonardo's art....over the years I have published numerous studies that examine particular aspects of Leonardo's career; in these, I always attempt to consider the relationship among art, science, and technology as the key to his mind and world.
The difficulty of achieving an inclusive presentation of Leonardo's works within such a framework is great; this book focuses on the drawings and paintings (but also, of course, considers the legacy of Leonardo's manuscripts and his ideas in other fields), and necessarily refers to those of my own earlier studies that helped me to understand better the man's artistic development. This volume also comprises insights that have ripened in the course of my close inspection of Leonardo's paintings in relation to problems of their conservation. Prominent among these is The Last Supper, whose restoration I have followed very closely, from its beginning in 1985, through 1993, when I became co-director of the project, and to its recent completion.
I have also incorporated here observations drawn from close association with several museum conservators whom I had the good fortune to observe at work on a number of Leonardo's paintings....
A note on the reproductions is called for. In a slight departure from the most scrupulous scholarly method, we have enlarged some details of paintings and drawings to greater than life size, in order to grant the reader a better view of the artist's technique and a better sense of the relationships between paintings and sculptures, as well as to underscore the sculptural power of some of the sketches. Leonardo's extraordinary graphic ability, so often concentrated in the smallest areas, may thus be seen clearly. In such magnified details it is also possible to see, together on a single sheet, the residue of multiple passes of the hand, which express different attempts to resolve a problem, revealing the movement of Leonardo's mind.
All this demonstrates how much is still to be discovered in the archives regarding Leonardo, and how much more study of him is possible. If this volume is, in its turn, a bearer of information stimulus to further study of the artist, however small, we may be satisfied.
P. C. M.
Milan, March 1, 2000
Excerpted by permission of Harry N. Abrams, Inc. Copyright © 1999 Federico Motta Editore SpA, Milan. English translation copyright © 2000 Harry N. Abrams, Inc.
|IN VERROCCHIO'S WORKSHOP||11|
|"MAESTRO LIONARDO DIPINTORE"||77|
|THE VIRGIN OF THE ROCKS: AN UNFORTUNATE MODEL, A SUCCESSFUL|
|THE PORTRAITS: NEW ICONOGRAPHY AND OLD PREJUDICES||157|
|TOWARD A NEW CLASSICISM: FROM THE LAST SUPPER TO THE VIRGIN|
|AND CHILD WITH ST. ANNE||209|
|EPILOGUE WITH DELUGES||303|
|Checklist of Paintings||338|
Posted June 17, 2010
No text was provided for this review.