Tag Archives: Leonardo Libro di pittura

Ricardo De Mambro Santos on reconstructing the history of Leonardo’s Trattato della pittura

The fabric of evidence: reconstructing the history of Leonardo’s Trattato della pittura and rethinking the narratives of its reception since the sixteenth century

Review of:

The Fabrication of Leonardo da Vinci’s Trattato della pittura with a scholarly edition of the editio princeps (1651) and an annotated English translation, edited by Claire Farago, Janis Bell and Carlo Vecce, with a foreword by Martin Kemp, Leiden and Boston: Brill, 2018, ISBN 9789004353787 e-book, ISBN 9789004353756 hardback, 2 vols, 1303 pages, b/w and colour ill.

Ricardo De Mambro Santos 21/RDMS1

Abstract: This publication provides a scholarly-conducted English translation of Leonardo da Vinci’s “Trattato della pittura”, and examines, in a cohesive collection of essays written by specialists in the field, the complex process of elaboration, transformation and circulation of textual as well as visual materials that led to the creation of this refined volume, printed in Paris in 1651. By means of rigorous micro-historical analyses, the various essays offer a detailed, all-encompassing reconstruction of the different channels through which Leonardo’s autograph notes were reinterpreted and disseminated, from the compilation of the manuscript known as “Libro di pittura”, assembled by Francesco Melzi in the second half of the sixteenth century, to the circulation of these materials in contexts such as sixteenth-century Florence or seventeenth-century Casteldurante, exploring, in particular, the crucial parts played by Cassiano dal Pozzo and Nicolas Poussin in Rome and by Raphael Trichet du Fresne, Roland Chambray and Charles Errard in Paris.

Key words: Leonardo da Vinci, Trattato della pittura, Renaissance art theory, Cassiano dal Pozzo, Nicolas Poussin drawings, textual studies