From 26 April 2021 | to 31 August 2021

Room I

The ground floor of Villa Bellio-Baronti-Pezzatini – exhibition and cultural headquarter of Leo-Lev Centre – hosts the Leonardo Academy show. Tribute to Carlo Pedretti by Oreste Ruggiero.

An exhibition devoted to Academy that Leonardo da Vinci – during his first in Lombardy stay (1482-1499) – had established in Milan, emulating Neoplatonist Academy patronized by Lorenzo de’ Medici in Florence for the humanists and philosophers gathered around Marsilio Ficino. Much more than a simple school or workshop, in addition to being a time of sharing  of artistic principles, it was a cenacle with its own philosophic and intellectual dimension of European level. A part of an underlying and complex programmatic line can be perceived in the order and fantasy’s concept expressed by vinciani knots, six engravings called the Accademia Leonardi Vinci. It’s about variation on the theme of a line that n the circle’s space envelops itself in a sequence of knots without solution of continuity. In the Leonardo Academy, young students such as Ambrogio de Predis, Boltraffio, Marco d’Oggiono, Salai, Giampietrino e Francesco Melzi compared with the Master, looked at his drawings, and maybe also his manuscripts, listened to the paint’s precepts who Leonardo shared with them – the same ones that Melzi would later transfer to Libro di pittura — and they drew by candlelight.

And so the Oreste Ruggiero’s works explore the Baccio Bandinelli’s theme, the first to found in Rome, in the gardens of Belvedere, protected by Clemente VII Pope, in the third decade of 16th century, an academy for young artists where they brought together young talents who wanted to learn how to paint and sculpt, but also to improve their literary culture. The Florentine master believed that the artist had to free himself from social subjection to mechanical arts, then from craftsmen’s status, for aspire instead to a real intellectual classes. 

A very similar idea to Achademia Leonardi Vinci in Milan and inspired by it. The originality of two Tuscan artists, in fact, is to have revived, after Neoplatonist Academy by Medici, the idea of “Academy” where the Master is a “film director”, an artistic-philosophic leader for the student in the carry out every work: a role able to promote the social status of artist, now released from medieval guilds, thus also giving him intellectual dignity. 

In large-scale works by Ruggiero, the burin engravings by Agostino Veneziano and the one after by Enea Vico are reinterpreted in digital art, having both as subject the Baccio Bandinelli’s Academy. The sculptor – famous for his drawings of human figure – is shown surrounded at his followers who work by candlelight, immersed in feverish and absorbed activities. 

It’s easy to image an scene like the one illustrated by a burin engraving by Agostino Veneziano, based on Baccio Bandinelli’s drawing, one of the later Leonardo’s follower, or burin engraving more detailed by Enea Vico, again based on Bandinelli’s drawing, in addition to the Master with the disciples gathered around a work table, can be see – on left – another students intent on draw or reflect in front of the fireplace, while in the foreground, all along the scene, stands a sculptures and anatomical parts to study by drawing. 

Finally, with two other original works, Oreste Ruggiero in contemporary key conceived a current Academy composed by art historians, artists, researchers who pay a tribute to professor Carlo Pedretti, one of the world’s leading experts on the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci. The protagonists, welcomed in the privacy of fireplace room of Villa Bellio-Baronti-Pezzatini (Leo-Lev Exhibition Center’s headquarter) that Pedretti loved it so much, focused on their work … 

and every elements of the past, mentioned on engravings by Agostino Veneziano and Enea Vico, become elements of present time, with a comparison or rather “quote-tribute” to what was perhaps the last academy: Frank Lloyd Wright’s Academy for the divulgation of Organic Architecture’s philosophy.

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