As soon as the exhibition was announced, an anxiety was born in our minds: the number of visitors will be tremendous. The visit will be cahotic, and we’ll only be able to see the paintings trampling and only after waiting patiently between each piece. This shows how unique is the affection we have for Leonardo da Vinci. Affection that continues to grow, as the recent sale of the Salvator Mundi has shown once again.
Why was it necessary to brave the human tide ? Here are three reasons.
Firstly, to understand that Leonardo da Vinci rarely worked as a painter. He was a military engineer for the Sforzas, a civil engineer in Venice, an autopsist in Florence, he also worked as an astronomer, philosopher, mathematician, composer, botanist, poet, zoologist… The artist was an expert in each of these professions.
Leonardo was part of one of the last generations able to master every specialities. Indeed, knowledge is constantly expanding, and the field of knowledge is now so wide that it always requires more specialisations to become an expert.
This exhibition is therefore a panorama, a photography of knowledge and research in the 15th century.
From this first observation ensue the second interest of the exhibition: visitors are witnesses of a world in which scientific knowledge is still accessible. The things that surround us are still to be understood, and we ask ourselves the questions that were Leonardo’s questions.
We are interested, with childlike eyes, in the way a fly flies, we compare it to the way a hawk flies. We have looks on scientific problems: was Leonardo right when he challenged the rule of dividing a fraction by a fraction ? We look at our forearm, looking at anatomical studies to see if it is always made up the same way.
These phenomena and considerations are simple, and have been explained for a long time, Leonardo allows us to be amaezd by them again.
Third specificity of the exhibition: on all lips we can read “It’s so well done”, and in every eyes we can see admiration. We can’t imagine hearing someone whisper “Ah, I don’t like that”. There is no discussion of liking or disliking Leonardo’s work, there is a consensus on its beauty, it is no question of style. Whether you’re 8 or 80, French or Australian, Leonard makes you dream.
What other classical, modern, contemporary or current artist can boast of pleasing everyone? What other exhibitions attract so many different generations? So many nationalities? Probably none, and it’s paradoxical: the most brilliant mind is also the most universal.