By Ellen Miller
Milan Expo 2015 boasts an impressive lineup of social projects, but the starring player will be an exhibition dedicated to Italian great Leonardo da Vinci. From April 15 to July 19 the exposition will highlight da Vinci and his work with an impressive collection of his artwork, specifically focusing on his drawings. The opening date is especially appropriate because it marks da Vinci’s birthday. The show will be displayed at Palazzo Reale and will be divided into 12 sections focusing on da Vinci’s drawing, painting and major themes throughout the artist’s works. It is the largest exhibition dedicated to da Vinci to be organized within his native country. Da Vinci is probably best known for his paintings, the most famous of which is the Mona Lisa, but he was a man of much more than simple paintings. Not only was he an avid sketcher, he also pursued the sciences. The exhibition will take on his many passions through primarily examining his drawings. In addition, some of Leonardo’s original codes and models will be presented alongside drawings and paintings, all on loan from major international museums, libraries and private individuals for the event.
One truly unique component of the exhibition will be an interactive video rendering of another of da Vinci’s most famous works, The Last Supper. While the original work remains on display in Milan, it is extremely difficult to obtain tickets to if you want to go be sure to pre-purchase tickets in advance and arrive on time for your scheduled entry time. However, as masterful as da Vinci’s fresco painting is, da Vinci’s unique take on fresco and his own method of painting on walls has taken a toll on the artwork over time, leading to deterioration and degradation. Much of the original work has been restored, but it is still noticeably faded. Still majestic, but not nearly as much as it would have been in da Vinci’s day. The video reproduction will not only be able to reproduce the painting as it would have originally been seen, but it will also offer a unique opportunity to engage visitors through descriptive panels and interactive stations that will explain the origin and background of the painting to visitors as well as offer information about the constant restoration of the fresco. Milan, a bustling city only a quick train ride from Florence is worth a trip just to see the original Last Supper, but 2015 offers tourists and locals the chance to celebrate an Italian master by viewing a sizeable portion of his works. For Italian art history lovers the exhibition should not be missed, but Milan Expo 2015 will also be a unique time to glimpse the priorities of not only Milan, but Italy as a whole and in fact the world, as the theme of “Feeding the planet, energy for life” is explored. It will be the second time Milan has hosted the world expo, the first being over 100 years ago in 1906. For those nearby, it’s almost a required experience.