Louvre Museum Starts the Leonardo da Vinci Quincentenary Show

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A lot of things about the renaissance-era painter Leonardo da Vinci is still an enigma and that explains why his works and the artist himself are much studied. Some say that Leonardo did not commit suicide, that he was happy until his passing and that his last work is that of a happy man. Then there are those who say the opposite, that he was depressed, his final work is somber and he committed suicide.

The much-revered “Mona Lisa” is Leonardo’s most popular artwork, and it too has been subject to wide debate. Is La Gioconda happy or is pain hidden beneath that enigmatic smile of hers? There are two views about this matter as well. One thing is for sure: all this debate just goes to show that Leonardo is still as relevant a figure as ever.

That is amazing given the fact the Musée du Louvre holds an exhibition of his works 500 years after his passing away. The exhibition attempts to create a full picture of Leonardo as a thinker and artist as possible.

The show brings together around 160 artworks, some of which are part of the Musée du Louvre collection and others loaned from different institutions. These works include Leonardo’s masterpieces, the ones by other creative people in his area of work, and numerous scientific sketches and studies. Those on a Louvre Museum tour can experience a VR part of the exposition that examines the story behind his painting of La Gioconda.

“We wished, in order to pay homage to the artist, to be able to show the entirety of Leonardo Da Vinci’s career and his development and to explain, ultimately, the sense of his life,” told the curator of the exhibition, Vincent Delieuvin, to The Associated Press.

Louvre Museum is running the exhibition through February 24, 2020 and you have to book tickets in advance online to take part in the show.

The project has been over a decade in the making. It started when the exhibition’s other curator, Louis Frank, translated a biography of Leonardo da Vinci to bring existing knowledge about this artist’s life into fullness. This biographical emphasis is obvious in the exhibition’s design, which traces Leonardo’s journey from his apprenticeship to sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio to his passing in 1519.

“Leonardo Da Vinci, he is one of those rare men, those personalities who fascinate us, because he was universal,” said Vincent Delieuvin. “He had an interest in all aspects of nature, we all see ourselves in his personality.”