To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, the Pinacoteca di Brera presents a collection drawn from his artistic heirs in Lombardy and shows the indelible mark that the maestro left on them.
This extraordinary collection boasts not Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces but rather showcases his little known artistic legacy through a wide selection from Lombard painters of the 15th and 16th centuries.
James Bradburne, director of the Brera, explains that Leonardo should not be judged solely on his own work but also on the huge cultural impact he had on successive generations of artists and on the development of western art and science in general.
The term ‘Leonardesque’ which usually defines many of the artists in this exhibition is perhaps a little reductive as other influences can often be identified in their work. Andrea Solario’s Madonna dei garofani for example shows Venetian influences at the same time as heavily referencing Leonardo’s work in its composition. Many of the artists featured here were direct students of the maestro, and the style of some initially was so similar to that of their teacher that there has been difficulty in attribution, while the appearance in this exhibition of paintings attributed to Spaniards Ferrando Yanez or Ferrando Llanos, both in Italy in the 16th century, attests to the reach of Leonardo’s influence.
The collection offers a unique insight into the development of art in Lombardy under the influence of perhaps the world’s best known artist.
It’s not clear how long the Brera will be highlighting this collection – we assume until autumn 2019!