Wonderful creator and referee of every elegance and above all of the amusing theatrical performances. With these words, Paolo Giovio describes Leonardo in his brief and accurate biography written around 1527. From the first stay in Milan to the Sforza court the artist organized parties. From his first stay in Milan at the Sforza court, the artist organized festivities. In the Rime by Bellincioni, published in Milan in 1493, Leonardo is remembered – and it is the first time that his name appears in print – as the one who sets up the scenery of the Festa del Paradiso organized in 1488 and staged “with extraordinary cleverness and art” in Milan on January 13rd, 1490 on the occasion of the wedding of Isabella d’Aragona with Gian Galeazzo Maria Sforza in the Sala Verde of the Castello Sforzesco. As the detailed description by the Ferrara ambassador Giacomo Trotti reveals, Leonardo conceived a complex and evocative setting built with the help of both painting and engineering.
At the beginning of 1480, Poliziano wrote the “fabula” of Orpheus, which would later be called Orphei tragoedia, in Mantua in two days and it was represented in the Gonzaga palace.
To this stage performance, the so-called “Foglio del Teatro”, published by Carlo Pedretti in 1999 and dated by him ca. 1506-1513, has to be referred to. This folio, owned by the Foundation, depicts a mobile scene, which can make an idea of the complex and evocative scenography provided for the change of the scene with lighting effects and choreography of sounds, songs and dances.
This will be the occasion to study in depth also the themes of music, musical instruments and costumes designed by Leonardo in many beautiful folios kept in Windsor.
Picture: Leonardo da Vinci, Theatre sheet, c. 1506-13, ink and red chalk, 369 x 274 mm, Lamporecchio, Fondazione Rossana and Carlo Pedretti
Location: to be confirmed
Date: September, 6th 2019 – January, 6th 2020 (to be confirmed)
Promoting Organisations: Fondazione Rosanna e Carlo Pedretti
Scientific Directors and curator: Sara Taglialagamba