22 January 2022

In addition to restoring the Angel of the Annunciation from San Gennaro, attributed to Leonardo da Vinci by Professor Carlo Pedretti, the Exposition Centre Leo-Lev commissioned the Florentine laboratory Opificio delle Pietre Dure to produce an exact terracotta “copy” of the original, made in the technique of the 1400s. This moment turned into a didactic experiment that will forever remain at the Exposition Centre Leo-Lev.

When the Opificio delle Pietre Dure presented their work, we were all surprised by the vivid colours, despite the fact that scientifically, the sculpture was made with fifteenth-century techniques and pigmentation.

My thoughts immediately took me to works of classicism: the Parthenon in Athens, today admired for the purity of Pentelian marble, but originally painted in bright colours such as red hematite, Egyptian blue, yellow, green and blue malachite azurite … and so were basically all the classical sculptures.

In this moment of universal fear, when many false beliefs begin to waver, the desire for ‘colour’ emerges like never before… Especially now there are so many videos with images of the colours of nature, animals and art…

Leonardo said: “Whoever wants to see how the soul lives in the body observes how the body daily uses its shelter. If that shelter is dirty and neglected, then the soul residing in the body is also dirty and neglected. If we think about the tendency of some years ago to dress completely in black, many things can be understood (or not?), but who would do that today?

And it is not about black, which, with the others, is beautiful and even enhances their beauty, but about the emptiness that conceals a mode of existence that is immune to the senses, as in the grotesque Petrolini, brilliantly recalled in his latest work by Marco Innocenti. 

And so, thanks to the colour palette of the Angel of the Annunciation from San Gennaro and its exact replica, the Leo-Lev Centre gives a small moment of light through a work that, like many in those distant times, being in darkness due to poor lighting in churches, brought a little joy, hope and consolation.

Should be illustrated by Mrs Laura Speranza, Director of the Ceramics Sector of the Florentine laboratory Opificio delle Pietre Dure, during the opening of the Leo-Lev Centre and Exhibition If He Were Leonardo’s Angel … 5 October 2019, as well as a video taken during the realisation of a copy of the Angel of the Annunciation from San Gennaro attributed to Leonardo da Vinci.

Oreste Ruggiero

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