da Vinci

1452 - 1519

 Renaissance Art Map
     Leonardo da Vinci - biography
     Leonardo da Vinci    
     1452-1481 Leonardo in the Florence of the Medici    
     1482-1499 At the court of Ludovico il Moro    
     1500-1508 The return to Florence    
     1508-1513 The Milan of Charles d'Amboise    
     1513-1519 The last years: Rome and France    



Leonardo da Vinci
c. 1512




The Milan of Charles d'Amboise




The years of French domination


The cultural and political ambition of Charles d'Amboise, Count of Chaumont and governor of Milan on behalf of the French king Louis XII, heralded a revival of the golden age of patronage associated with Ludovico il Moro. As a sign of continuity with the Sforza tradition, Charles requested Pietro Soderini, gonfalonier (chief magistrate) of the Florentine Republic, to invite Leonardo to Milan, where he spent the years 1508 to 1513. Involved in the plans for Santa Maria alia Fontana, he designed for the governor a suburban villa with gardens and water displays. He painted a Madonna and Child for King Louis, supervised the second version of the Virgin of the Rocks, and created his highly original St John, on the precedent of his Florentine Angel of the Annunciation. He made studies for the Trivulzio Monument, and pursued his research into subjects that had always occupied his mind, codifying and arranging his notes on a broad range of scientific topics.

Francesco de' Tatti,
The Crucifixion of the Bosto Polyptych, 1517, detail, Sforza Castle, Milan.
This provincial painter, with his robust, immediate style and folkloric approach, provides some interesting military detail in the background to this scene, notably the outlines of the Sforza Castle and troops of the French army. The French, who had conquered the duchy in 1499, ruled until 1513 when they were overthrown briefly by Massimiliano Sforza, son of il Moro.


King Louis XII and his wife Anne of Brittany were portrayed by the French medallist Leclerc. The bronze medals, belonging to the Carrand Collection, are today housed in the Museo Nazionale, Florence.



Andrea Solario, Portrait of Charles d'Amboise, after 1507, Musee du Louvre, Paris.
Summoned to the court of the French king (1507), the Lombard painter applied lessons learned from Leonardo. The thematic choice of landscape, the rhythmical handling of space, and the psychological interpretation of the subject were modelled upon Antonello and the Flemish school, still strongly rooted in local tradition.




 Giovan Gerolamo Savoldo, Portrait of a Gentleman in Armour
(traditionally identified as Gaston de Foix), c.1510-20,
Musee du Louvre, Paris, from the royal collections at Fontainebleau.
The nephew of Louis XII, and the king's deputy in Lombardy, the valiant young commander,
fought against the armies of the Holy League brought together by Pope Julius II.
He was killed at the victorious battle of Ravenna in 1512.



The Trivulzio Monument


From 1508 to 1510 Leonardo made plans for the monument to be erected in the Trivulzio Mausoleum in San Nazaro, Milan, in memory of Marshal Gian Giacomo Trivulzio. The commission was never completed, and all that is left is a series of drawings embodying new ideas for representing the heroic theme of the horse and the man on horseback, previously addressed in the Adoration of the Magi, the Sforza Monument, and the Battle of Anghiari. While tackling the problems that this project entailed, Leonardo returned to the never-realized idea of a Treatise of the Horse. Alongside the naturalistic and scientific studies of equine anatomy, poses, and attitudes, were sketches modelled upon the subjects depicted on antique coins and jewels remembered from the Medici collections in Florence, and consonant with the heroic and celebratory nature of the subject in hand.

Interior of the Trivulzio Mausoleum,
built after 1512 by Bramante.


Leonardo da Vinci, Studies for the Equestrian Monument, 1508-10, Royal Library, Windsor.
A kind of "cinematic design", these sketches show the varied movement and rhythm of the horse.
Sometimes Trivulzio was depicted as an ancient hero, nude, with his cloak swirling in the wind.



Leonardo da Vinci, Rearing Horse, 1503-04, Royal Library, Windsor.
The opportunity to revive a sculptural project abandoned years before led Leonardo to look afresh at themes that had already interested him in the latter years of the 15th century.


Leonardo da Vinci
, Study for an Equestrian Monument, 1510-12,
Royal Library, Windsor.
Underneath the group there is an arch of triumph in the antique style.


Leonardo da Vinci
Study of horses
Red chalk on paper
Royal Library, Windsor


Leonardo da Vinci, Studies for the Equestrian Monument, 1508-10, Royal Library, Windsor.
Four prisoners were envisaged by the sides of the tomb, as in the sepulchre of Julius II.



Leonardo da Vinci,
Study for the Trivulzio monument
Pen, ink and red chalk on paper
Royal Library, Windsor


Leonardo da Vinci,
Equestrian monument
Black chalk on paper
Royal Library, Windsor


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