Appreciating art through the eyes of Leonardo

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“Art cannot be taught to those to whom nature grants it not”, this thesis of Leonardo’s recalls the old saying “you can teach painting but not art”. And appreciate art must be just as difficult as teaching it. Only a genius like Leonardo could possess all the necessary qualities. He was not only a supreme painter, he considered himself a scientist and spent most of his life not painting but observing, studying and projecting. Unfortunately Leonardo jotted down all his thoughts in a few words on miscellaneous sheets. Written in his own code, each subject was dealt with repeatedly. In his thirties, whilst in Milan, he became convinced of the need to collect his notes together in a book. But his field of interests was too vast to allow him to concentrate on a single project, preventing him from ordering all his thoughts into a single work. Over the past centuries several thousands of these sheets have been collected and ordered into a book under the title “Treatise on Painting”. The aim of the Museum is to make the “Treatise” more accessible using only the original texts, without comments or changes, rearranging the subjects, shortening the texts, avoiding repetitions and illustrating the salient concepts. The exhibition takes place in Palazzo Bonacossa, home to the Museum, just a stone’s throw from the Sforzesco Castle, at whose court Leonardo da Vinci spent the most active and significant years of his life.

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