LEONARDO, PIONA AND THE LAST SUPPER
Last Supper is a striking work for its complex
composition. Since its first appearance it has been object of attention of engravers and
copists; monasteries and religious orders have competed to commission copies of it, often altering the original
structure, the groupings, or introducing meaningful variations: Giovan Pietro da Cemmo,
Antonio da Gessate, Tommaso Aleni, Andrea Solario, Marco dOggiono have been among
the early promotees of the big format model, both in frescos and teleri (great painted canvas).
restorations made by Doctor Pinin Brambilla has reproposed this work in its original richness of colours and
details, which risked to be lost forever; amidst many re-discoveries it has
permitted to cast new light on the bell tower of an unidentified church, apparently lying
within a pre-Alpine lake landscape, which can be seen from the central opening behind the
Christ. In his Atlantic Code, Leonardo talks about the Lake Como territory and he describes it with an abundance
of details which witnesses both his love for the natural beauties that characterise its
landscape and a the Maestros frequent visits to the area. He writes about his trip
from the mountains around Lecco (from Resegone to Grigne) towards Mandello to reach
Gravedona and later Chiavenna.
underlines the possible relationships between the Maestro and the Milanese family Birago,
who had amongst his members few Prior Commendator at
Piona between 1450 and 1511. First of them was Pietro Birago, friend of Ludovico il Moro
and related to Giovan pietro Birago who produced the first print of the Last Supper half
century later with the ideal imprimatur of
Leonardo. This is another coincidence that makes the links between the Maestro
and the Abbey even stronger.
Prof. Ernesto Solari
LEONARDO: FROM THE ATLANTIC CODE
In the papers
573 b, front and upfront of the Atlantic Code, Leonardo examines multiple aspects related
to the Lake Como territory, the mountains and
the lakes. These are real witnesses of his frequent presence here and of his love for this
area and its several natural beauties.
LEONARDO: FROM THE LEICESTER CODE
compiles this Code between 1506 and 1508. In the same period he visits the valleys of
Lombardy. Leonardo talks about those territories and describes them with a richness of
details that points out his great love for the natural features of these places and the
Maestros frequent presence in the areas.
LEONARDO: LAND ROUTES
Walking the Via
Ducale and its ramifications, Leonardo admires
the Grigne which he sketches and fixes in his imagination to use them later in
masterpieces as the Virgin and Saint Ann of the Louvre.
The study on
the presence of these landscapes in various works and drawings of Leonardo represents the
leitmotiv of an exhibition to be produced next year.
will not be overlooked: the links with the resources of our territory and bordering areas
such as the Canton Ticino (Novazzano, Ponte Capriasca, Lugano), Saronno (Va), Milan, the
area of the Adda Park, from Paderno to Vaprio dAdda, where Leonardo was often guest
of his best pupil: Francesco Melzi. However the most interesting aspects of the route are
surely connected to the mountains present in the Virgin of the Rocks, which could be
compared to the central massif of Northern
Grigna, composed by Sasso Cavallo and Sasso dei Carbonari. The typical reddish colour
given by Leonardo and the definition of pelada
would confirm such hypothesis. Another, though less plausible hypothesis is that related to the landscape of
the Annunciation of the Uffizi, which, according to some scholars could represent the
pizzini of Saint Martin and Mount S. Primo in the background. It seems more
likely to us to draw the rocky mountain chain of the Saint Ann nearer to the rocks located
on the lake at Lecco-Caviate, which make up the Horn of Medale.
LEONARDO: WATER ROUTES
Amongst all the
questions related to the theme of water, there is one that Leonardo would deal with during
his second stay in Milan and that excited him above all: the urgent problem of creating a
way of communication between Lake Como and Milan in order to favour the transportation of
manufactured and agricultural products towards the urban markets, departure points for
Europe. Two were the proposals put forward by Leonardo: overcoming the Adda waterfalls by
uplifting the rivers water through a dam and especially made up basins; and linking
Lecco with the Lambro through sailable canals connecting the basins of the Brianza region.
LEONARDO: ART ROUTES
of the bell tower of the ancient Abbey of Piona and of the surrounding landscape in the
FAMILY OF LIPOMO COMING FROM THE PICTURE GALLERY OF PAOLO GIOVIO
On the basis of
historical hints, the painting arrived in Lipomo immediately after the first half of the
1800s, coming from the Bonanomi Chapel in the suppressed Church of Saint Antonio in Como.,
where it had been put around 1578 by Paolo
Giovio jr as new piece on the altar following
the injunction of a visiting bishop; as shown by the fact that it was dedicated to the
Holy Family instead of the Churchs Saint. The painting arrived in Lipomo without
frame since in S. Antonio it was located inside an altarpiece of stucco.
possible that Paolo Giovio jr had taken it from the familys picture gallery, where the works of historian Paolo Giovio were
THE THEME OF PASSION
It is coherent
with the poetics of Leonardo on the theme of Passion.
has invented a completely new mode of painting the fundamental event of the Christian
dogma, the inevitable Passion and Death of Christ. We know that this had been subject of a
work examined by Father Pietro da Novellare in 1501, right at the time when the artist was
planning the Madonna of the fuses. In his letter of April 3rd addressed to
Isabella dEste the father describes the postures of Christ (a child of about one
year of age), embracing a lamb, His Mother and Saint Ann
Drawing towards the end of his life, Leonardo will give his last interpretation of this theme with the Saint Ann, the Madonna and the Child with the little lamb of the Louvre (Carlo Pedretti).
LE MIE MOSTRE SU LEONARDO A PIONA