Milan, Leonardo was inspired by Dürer and Mantegna for his drawings in the Sforza’s Castle

Leonardo was not alone on the scaffolding of the Castle. He was accompanied by Dürer’s prints and (perhaps) Andrea Mantegna’s. While with one hand he sketched countryside landscapes on the walls, with the other he flipped through images of his competitors to be inspired by the yield of Woods and cliffs, plants and stones. The genius and his models. A year after the discovery of the drawings that emerged under layers of plaster, Claudio Salsi, director of the Superintendence of the castle, draws the sums of a research work that, in recent months, has analyzed every inch of the Axis room to understand its genesis and original appearance.

If the doubt, until today, has been the relationship between the Tuscan master and his northern rivals, the comparison between these last details surfaced from the lime and the engravings of the colleagues who circulated on the Milanese market demonstrates an undeniable debt. The influence of Dürer can be seen in the shaping and naturalistic sign that rounds the bark of mulberries. The classic lessons of Mantegna is evident in the squared stones that build the rocky arch over the fireplace in the north wall, where games of fleshy roots penetrate the earth, and cite the sharp spurs and the whole of the geology loved by the Venetian giant with an awesome coincidence between the solution adopted by Leo and the Resurrection of Andrew kept at the Carrara of Bergamo.

«German style and Mantegna’s iconography I think they fed Leonardo’s invention» explains Salsi as he climbs on the scaffolding that line the Planks Hall, showing us in advance of the next reopening (if the Prime Minister decrees will allow it) the results of an inexhaustible construction site. Undermined by the lockdown, the on-and-off restorations continue to reveal the evidence of a circulation of ideas that flew through the workshop of the Tuscan artist, fascinated by the wild and fairy-taley ways of the rival of Nuremberg and, at the same time, by the illusions-like space that Mantegna had gloriously experienced in the Chamber of the Spouses of Mantua.

It would not be surprising that, from the investigations carried out by the restorer Anna Brunetto, specialist of laser interventions, also the scheme of a scenographic architecture appeared. The hypothesis is that of a painted pergola, designed to reconnect with the courtly garden that once bordered the tower of the Falconier. Like a huge trompe-l’oeil. Waiting to see it come to the surface, Salsi signed with Alessia Alberti the book «Leonardo Da Vinci. In the Shade of the Moor» (published by Silvana) that aligns the clues of this mystery story of art. To Simone Ferrari is owed a book published before Christmas by Genoa University Press entitled «Dürer and Leonardo. The comparison of the arts to the North and South of the Alps» which demonstrates the fruits of an ideal meeting between the two sacred monsters of the Renaissance, set against the background of the most refined courts in Europe and which right here, in the castle tower, sees Leonardo imitate the very precise sign of the German in the shadows of his forest.

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