LEONARDO DA VINCI AND THE BOOK OF DOOM


LEONARDO DA VINCI AND THE BOOK OF DOOM

SIMON HEWITT    Book Number: 89302    Product format: Paperback

A great artistic detective story which turns our understanding of Leonardo da Vinci upside down. Simon Hewitt demonstrates that Leonardo's only male portrait (The Musician) depicts Bianca Sforza's husband Galeazzo Sanseverino. Untying the mysteries of the unique knot-pattern Leonardo designed for Bianca, Hewitt reveals how Leonardo was lampooned by his own Milanese colleagues as a clean-shaven, absent-minded, lyre-strumming, ginger-haired homosexual. Bianca Sforza (c1486-96) was the illegitimate daughter of the Duke Ludovico Sforza, known as Il Moro, the ruler of Milan from 1480-1500. Her portrait shows technical sophistication, psychological subtlety and minute rendering of detail bearing the stamp of the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. Why might he have illustrated her? Did he have any contacts with Sforziada illuminator Gianpietro Birago? The portrait was discovered in Warsaw and the fourth and final illuminated copy of the Sforziada, a glorified biography of dynasty patriarch Francesco Sforza was also discovered. The evidence piled up that Leonardo was involved, the Bianca portrait far more than a one-off commission resulting from her new husband Galeazzo being a longstanding associate of Leonardo's. It was a by-product of the courtly cultural scene in Il Moro's Milan, a scene which reflected his every wish. This Duke was an enlightened yet unscrupulous despot whose hands-on approach to culture kept reminding the author of Stalin. Leonardo might have been the greatest artist who ever lived, but his most creative output in Milan had to conform to the Duke's ultimate vehicle for propaganda. Il Moro's idea of art did not just concern paintings and pageantry, but every aspect of creative activity, from history books, manuscript illumination and poetry to clothing, altarpieces, heraldry and architecture, culminating in Leonardo's transformation of a palace hall into a glade of mulberry trees. Bianca, the teenage heroine of Leonardo's portrait was married on 20th June 1496. The Sforziada volume commissioned for her wedding became her memorial - she died just five months later, probably murdered, as this book reveals. 15 years later, the male line of the Sforzas became extinct. Leonardo's portrait escaped from this Book of Doom into the mists of time. Its next owner would be shot by the Nazis. With a superb historical cast and set in Milan, Ferrara, Mantua, Austria, Hungary, France and Naples. Family tree and exquisitely illustrated throughout thee heavyweight 352 large pages. A magnificent journey through time and art. Softback.
Published price: £25
Bibliophile price: £10.00


Additional product information

ISBN 9781912690572
Browse these categories as well: Historical Biography, Art & Architecture, History

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