The eclecticism of Leonardo da Vinci always strikes me. His curiosity and naturalist intelligence have made him the icon of humanism. I often encounter the works of Leonardo, ranging from the overfamous Mona Lisa all the way to the floodgates on the canals, but lately it seems like he’s giving me a pat on my shoulder in order to get my attention.
The fact is that I was invited to a guided tour of the exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci held at Palazzo Reale, and I finally had an opportunity to frame the character of this man, to gain an overview that I had never been offered before. I had never managed to combine Leonardo the painter of Madonnas with Leonardo the engineer who designed war machines; the naturalist who drew the wings of birds to snatch the secret of flight, with the scientist projecting hydraulic devices; or the creator of churches with the architect of strongholds.
Moving through the halls of the exhibition in Milan, following a given path and listening to the guide, I journeyed through the life of Leonardo, stopping only at key stages, and I came out with the idea of putting together the pieces of a puzzle. From the boy in Verrocchio’s workshop to the old bearded man of his most famous self-portrait, the genius who lived between 1400 and 1500 is no longer a mystery, and my admiration for him has almost gained a confidential note. Walking close to the floodgates along the River Adda, projected by him at the end of the 15th century, I smile and murmur: “Hello, Leo.”