Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition Catalogue

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Luke Syson is Iris and B. Gerald Cantor Curator in Charge of the Department of European Sculpture and Decorative Arts at The Metropolitan Museum of Art. He was formerly Curator of Italian Paintings before 1500 and Head of Research at the National Gallery, London. His previous publications include Renaissance Sienna: Art for a City and, as co-author, Pisanello: Painter to the Renaissance Court and Objects of Virtue: Art in Renaissance Italy.


Contibutors Larry Keith, Arturo Galansino, Antonio Mazzotta, Minna Moore Ede, Scott Nethersole and Per Rumberg are all present or former members of staff at the National Gallery.

Published to accompany the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan at the National Gallery, London 9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012.

Leonardo da Vinci’s reputation as an inventor and scientist, and the complexity of his creativity and personality, have sometimes almost overshadowed the importance of his aims and techniques as a painter. Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court Of Milan focuses on a crucial period in the 1480s and '90s when, as a salaried court artist to Duke Ludovico Sforza in the city-state of Milan, freed from the pressures of making a living in the commercially minded Florentine republic, Leonardo produced some of the most celebrated – and influential – work of his career.

The Last Supper, his two versions of The Virgin of the Rocks, and the beautiful portrait of Ludovico’s mistress, Cecilia Gallerani (The Lady with an Ermine) were paintings that set a new standard for his Milanese contemporaries. Leonardo’s style was magnified, through collaboration and imitation, to become the visual language of the regime, and by the time of his return to Florence in 1500, his status was utterly transformed.

Works from British, US and European collections represent the diverse range of Leonardo’s artistic output, from drawings in chalk, ink or metalpoint to full-scale oil paintings. Together with the authors’ meticulous research and detailed analysis, they demonstrate Leonardo’s consummate skill and extraordinary ambition as a painter.

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Catalogue Reviews:

"marvellous catalogue – thorough, eloquent, original: that is to say, nearly unique in this field"

Laura Cummings, 'Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan – review', The Observer, 13 November 2011


"The superbly produced catalogue by Luke Syson and Larry Keith is as measured, thoughtful, and original as any I've read. In terms of art history, their understanding of Leonardo is the new gold standard."

Richard Dorment, 'Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, National Gallery in London: review', The Telegraph, 7 November 2011

Product Information

Product Code leonardoEC
author Luke Syson
B&W illustrations 11
colour illustrations 255
contributors Keith, Galansino, Mazzotta, Moore Ede
contributors Nethersole, Rumberg
ISBN (hardback) 978 1 85709 491 6
ISBN (paperback) 978 1 85709 490 9
pages 320
published Oct 2011
publisher National Gallery Company
words 100,000
Dimensions 320 mm X 240 mm

Customer Reviews (1)

  • 22 July 2011

    Review by: Aaron Tuckler,M.D.

    By far,the best painting by Leonardo is Lady with an Ermine.We had the opportunity to see it in Cracov,Polland.I congratulate the National Gallery for the coming exhibition