The Faculty of Belas Artes of the University of Porto (FBAUP) will lend Leonardo Da Vinci’s drawing from his collection to the Louvre Museum in Paris for the exhibition that marks the 500th anniversary of his death.
The director of the FBAUP, Lúcia Almeida Matos, as an example of the national and international loans requested from the college art collection, that Leonardo da Vinci’s drawing will be exhibited in the autumn at the Louvre, in Paris, after having been in Holland, at the Teyler Museum exhibition in Haarlem dedicated to the surviving master drawings of the Renaissance master.
“Girl washing a child’s feet” will thus be part of the exhibition, to be inaugurated on October 24 at the most visited museum in the world, which, according to its website, will bring together “an exclusive group” of works by Da Vinci, among paintings, drawings and sculptures, from different institutions, which will join the “great paintings” of the Louvre collection, such as “Mona Lisa“, “The Virgin and Saint Anne“, “Bacchus” and “Saint John Baptista “.
The first attribution to Leonardo Da Vinci of the drawing that belongs to the collection of FBAUP was suggested in 1965 by British art historian and curator Philip Pouncey, and came to be confirmed later in 1977 when the original was examined in Oporto, according to the description of its origin, patent in the thematic repository of the University of Porto.
“Pouncey made his discovery the following year in a short article published in Apollo magazine. Given the close stylistic relationship between the drawing of Porto and a group of drawings for a composition of the Virgin and Child with the Cat in the British Museum, (…) Pouncey considered that the newly discovered drawing should date from c. 1480, the year in which the artist lived in Florence “, can be read in the same text.
Later, the art historian and expert on Da Vinci Carlo Pedretti “suggested that both the drawing of Porto and related drawings of the British Museum [date] from c. 1483, shortly after Leonardo’s transfer to Milan.”
“Girl washing a child’s feet” was exhibited at the National Museum of Ancient Art (MNAA) in Lisbon at the temporary exhibition “Madonna – Treasures of the Vatican Museums“, from May to September 2017.
The process of attribution to Leonardo is also described in the catalog of this exhibition of the MNAA, which highlights “the treatment of drawing with feather brown” and “the characteristic descending stroke from left to right“, similar to other works of the master Italian, on the subject of Madonna, produced in the same period.
The dating puts the drawing as contemporary of the painter’s “The Adoration of the Magi,” and the MNAA underlines “the affinities” between the face of the Virgin in the picture and that of the girl in the drawing.
The depiction of a child’s buttock in one corner of the page as a rehearsal, and the existence of columns of handwritten words, “in Leonardo’s characteristic mirrored calligraphy,” equally apparent in the drawing “Study of a Naked Child in Arms of a Woman “by the Royal Collection in Windsor reinforced the author’s identification.
The origin of “Girl washing a child’s feet” has been identified from the original holder – commander Vittorio Genevosio – to the Academy of Marine and Commerce, Porto, and the Academy of Fine Arts of Porto, which succeeded the Superior School of Fine Arts of Porto, current FBAUP.
The “exceptional exhibition of Leonardo Da Vinci“, as the Louvre Museum defines the exhibition that will open on October 24, will require the advance reservation of tickets, to guarantee access to “Hall Napoléon” – a measure announced this week, to control the number of visitors.
The Louvre recalls that Leonardo Da Vinci left Italy after the death of his patron, Giuliano de ‘Medici, having arrived at the Clos Lucé Castle in Ambroise in November 1516, where he remained until his death three years later.
“This is why the Louvre holds almost a third of his paintings: the ones he brought to France were bought by François I and entered the royal collections, which probably already included ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ and ‘La Belle Ferronnière’ acquired by Louis XII. This exceptional collection of paintings, which was the beginning of the collections of the Louvre, was supplemented by 22 of the artist’s drawings “, explains the museum.
According to the Louvre, the exhibition will include a “large selection of drawings and a small but significant group of paintings and sculptures that will provide some tangible context.”
However, the presence of Salvator Mundi, which was auctioned anonymously for the record amount of 403 million euros, but whose authenticity has been questioned, is still uncertain.
At the end of March, the New York Times published a text stating that the Louvre Abu Dhabi, where the painting should be exposed, is unaware of the whereabouts of the painting.
At the beginning of the year, the Italian government announced that it would not authorize the loan of works for the Louvre exhibition, since, according to Undersecretary of State for Culture, Lucia Borgonzoni, quoted by The Art Newspaper, “Leonardo was Italian, only died in France, so giving the Louvre all these paintings would put Italy on the shores of a major cultural event. ”
The director of the Galleries of the Crafts in Florence said that he was certain that his French colleagues at the Louvre would support him in the decision to apply the same rules to his paintings of Leonardo that they apply to the “Mona Lisa“, ie the policy of not lending the works concerned.