The temporary exhibition “Leonardo Da Vinci Parade” - curated and developed by the Museum - comprises a large selection of fascinating models built in the 1950s through the interpretation of Leonardesque drawings and frescoes by sixteenth century Lombard artists, granted for storage in 1952 by the Pinacoteca di Brera, directed at the time by Fernanda Wittgens. The Museum celebrates its origins by evocatively exhibiting the two collections with which it opened to the public on February 15th, 1953. Next to the machines there are recently restored plaster and terracotta models of military and civil architectures - many of which have not been on display for years.
On two great walls, the torn frescos from Brera evoke the racks from the museum storage, by creating a suggestive collection of paintings where they are shown according to their place of origin, such as churches or no longer existing buildings in Milan. Among the painters, Bernardino Luini and his school play a fundamental role, as one of the most successful authors in early 1500s Lombardy.
The exhibition is an unusual combination of art and science in an unprecedented show which touches Da vinci’s numerous fields of interest and study through the worldwide renown historic collection of the Museum.
“Leonardo Da Vinci Parade” is the first initiative – both at national and international level – created in the frame of the celebrations for the 500 years from Leonardo da Vinci’s death (1519-2019) in the program of events “Milan and the inheritance of Leonardo 1519-2019”, presented by the Comune di Milano. The exhibition was created in cooperation with the Pinacoteca di Brera and with the support of Fondazione Cariplo.
Admission to the exhibition is included in the entry ticket for the museum.
Leonardo da Vinci National Museum of Science and Technology
Via San Vittore 21, Milan - Italy
Plan your visit:
Is possible to book a guided tour to the exhibition, for touristic groups or schools.
Leonardo's collection of models from the National Museum of Science and Technology is the most important in the world. It was created in 1952 on the occasion of the celebrations for the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth, thanks to the study and the interpretation of the Leonardesque manuscripts by a committee of scholars.
The collection is now made up of more than 130 models that tell the different fields of study of Leonardo. Made with a great executive expertise, the models are an exceptional legacy in the study and dissemination of the technical-scientific work of Leonardo, as well as a unique for their educational value and their artistic and museological significance.
The Museum has been involved for over ten years in a process of the collection enhancement, taking care of the conservation and restoration of most of the models, often made of fragile materials such as plaster and terracotta. Numerous models, not on display for a long time, have been featured in important temporary exhibitions in the world, from Europe to China and Brazil.
After a long absence from the Museum, many models are presented in preview in the Leonardo da Vinci Parade exhibition. It is the prelude of an important renewal in the exhibitions that will return the most recent interpretations of the work of Leonardo da Vinci in a constant dialogue between scientific and humanistic disciplines.
Leonardo da Vinci Parade offers an unprecedented and evocative path that crosses the different fields of study of Leonardo about engineering, technology, flying, boating, construction machinery, friction studies, measuring instruments, military artillery, solutions to move under water, models to demonstrate the impossibility of perpetual motion. Also on display are some models of military and civil architecture made of plaster and terracotta, restored in the last years.
Moat with underwater defense
interpretation by Ermenegildo Menichetti (1952-53)
from the drawing of Codex Atlanticus, f. 116 r. (1502-1503)
Flying machine with crossbow motor
interpretation by Alberto Mario Soldatini and Vittorio Somenzi (1953)
from the drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Atlanticus, f. 844 r. e 863 r. (1493)
interpretation by Alcide De Rizzardi e Alessandro Siriati (1953)
from the drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, Manuscript L, f. 76 v. (1503-1504)
Underwater diving suit
interpretation by Luigi Tursini (1953)
from the drawing by Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Atlanticus, f. 909 v. (1487)
interpretation by Alberto Mario Soldatini and Vittorio Somenzi (1953)
from the drawing by Leonardo, Codex Arundel, f. 241 r. (1490 ca.)
Pinacoteca di Brera is one of the most important National Galleries in Italy and in the World, inaugurated in 1809 by Napoleon Bonaparte. The formation of its collections is also linked to the suppression of the religious bodies of Milan and of the territory.
From the Napoleonic age many frescoes that decorated buildings, churches and suppressed monasteries were detached and transferred to the Pinacoteca, immediately constituting one of the most significant collections.
The frescoes are of many Lombard artists from the XIV to the XVI century, such as Bergognone, Bernardino Luini and Gaudenzio Ferrari. No longer linked to their original architectural context, they are often the only artistic testimonies of buildings, churches and monasteries subsequently destroyed or radically transformed.
Heavily struck by the bombardments of the Second World War, Pinacoteca di Brera is rebuilt by the architect Piero Portaluppi under the direction of Ettore Modigliani and Fernanda Wittgens, the first woman in Italy director of a large museum.
In the exhibition itinerary of the Pinacoteca, inaugurated in 1950, many of the frescoes in the collection can’t find an appropriate location. For this reason, thanks to the mediation of the architect Piero Portaluppi (which rebuilds both the Pinacoteca di Brera and the monastery of San Vittore, the future site of the Museum), on 5 April 1952 Fernanda Wittgens signs an important strategic agreement with Guido Ucelli, founder of the future National Museum of Science and Technology, granting to the Museum an important nucleus of frescoes by Lombard masters.
In the Leonardo da Vinci Parade exhibition the frescoes of the Pinacoteca di Brera are in dialogue with the Leonardesque models, to reinforce the union between Art and Science that characterizes the Museum since its birth. Among these paintings, there are many works by Berardino Luini such as the Salvator Mundi from the Monastery of Santa Marta and the Madonna and Child with Saints from the church of Santa Maria di Brera.
Bernardino Luini, Salvator Mundi
1516-1522, from the monastery of Santa Marta
Bernardino Luini (atelier), Saint Ursula
1516-1521, from the monastery of Santa Maria della Purificazione, also called of the Vetere
Lombard painter, Madonna with Child, Saint Bernardino of Siena, Saint Anthony the Great, two devouts and their son
Last quarter of the 15th c., from Garbagnate Milanese, church of Santa Maria, also called Rossa
Bernardino Luini, Madonna and Child, Saint Barbara, Saint Anthony the Great and musician angel
1521, from the church of Santa Maria di Brera
Bernardino Campi, Fragment from the Communion of the Magdalene with old men’s heads
1579-1581, Oratory of Carthusian in Belgioioso Castle, San Colombano al Lambro
Leonardo da Vinci is considered to be one of the main representatives of the dialogue between scientific and humanistic disciplines. His versatile activity was rooted in creativity, observation skills, constant research and experimental work.
Da Vinci’s thinking was fluid, ready to identify the connection among things, integrating dream and reality, giving equal value to the possible and the existing, consciously inclined to read the world in its unity.
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