The Italian School

Another short trip to Paris. It was supposed to be one last Paris jolly before they take away my EU citizenship 😦 . It was lovely, as always, but there were issues (Brexit related). I’m trying not to dwell on those and concentrate on the good things.

One of the good things was a small-but-perfectly-formed exhibition at Beaux-Arts de Paris, the fine arts school in St Germain des Pres; Leonardo and the Italian Renaissance.

Ecole Nationale Superieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris

2019 marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo and many exhibitions and events are planned around Europe in commemoration. The exhibition at Beaux-Arts de Paris takes items by Leonardo and other artists of the Italian renaissance, mainly drawings and sketches, from the school’s huge collection. The exhibition is small, just about thirty items, and to get to it you have to go through the great court of the school.

This is a magnificent space, decorated with roundels of famous persons and the names of famous artists.

This is where the students show their work so there are sometimes installations here, although when I visited, it was mainly clear (it looked like something was being set up but I wasn’t sure about that). The Leonardo exhibition is in a room at one end of the court behind the least likely looking door imaginable.

The exhibitions focuses on renaissance studio drawing, exercises and preparatory sketches for larger works, by artists including Fra Bartolemeo and Donatello.

Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael, ‘Etude pour une draperie et tet d’homme’.

Raffaello Sanzio, called Raphael, ‘Etude pour une draperie et tet d’homme’.

Girolamo Genga, ‘Homme a demi-nu, a mi-corps’

Then, the four Leonardos. These demonstrate different aspects of Leonardo’s work. Studies of people,

Leonardo de Vinci, ‘Tete de vieillard de trois-quarts a droite’

interesting character-filled faces,

Leonardo de Vinci, ‘Profil de vieil homme tourne vers la droite’

the human form in action and repose,

Leonardo de Vinci, ‘Feuille d’etudes pour l’Adoration des Mages’

and his inventions of military weaponry.

Leonardo de Vinci, ‘Etudes de balistique’

Bombs, shielded-pikes and bows and rolling explosives.

Of the sketches, I particularly liked this double-sided doodle-fest by Baldassare Peruzzi.

Baldassare Peruzzi, ‘Projet pour le Palazzo Pubblico de Sienne, tete de jeune homme’

Faces, feet, buildings, bodies. A design for a public space in Sienna. The head of a young man.

It’s always worth looking at Leonardos and, as an added bonus, this exhibition is free!

The exhibition is on until 19th April 

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