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Portugal – “Montefeltro, land of Mona Lisa”

In Lisbon, on May 8 a conference and an exhibit until May 13 on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death

The research by scholars Rosetta Borchia, landscape painter and expert of landscapes in art- and Olivia Nesci, Professor in Geomorphology at the University of Urbino and expert of physical landscapes- documented that the territory of Montefeltro had inspired famous works by celebrated Renaissance painters as Piero della Francesca and Leonardo.
In 2017, the two scholars -yet defined "landscape hunters”- fund them among Emilia-Romagna, Marche and Tuscany, among the picks and limestone cliffs of the Valmarecchia area and the gentle hills of the River Metauro valley.

Borchia and Nesci first discovered an element of the background behind Federico da Montefeltro in the Dyptich of the Dukes of Urbino by Piero della Francesca. Thereafter, they started a series of historic-artistic researches and scientific investigations, associating the historic-artistic aspects of the territory, the artists’ biographies and the documents of their clients, the geological, ecological and climate evolution aspects in order to explain possible environmental changes.

This innovative methodological approach, first experimented on pictorial landscapes, lays the foundation for new investigations which would lead not only to the discovery of other backgrounds of Piero’s paintings in the valley of Montefeltro but also to the discovery of the landscape of Leonardo’s Mona Lisa in the area among Romagna, Marche, Tuscany, and Umbria.

Today, while researches on the works by Raffaello are being carried out, this experience is a reference for a European project between Italy and Croatia, led by Emilia-Romagna Region which, since 2011, has been engaged in the project Montefeltro Renaissance Sights. It is an innovative project which combines the protection of the natural landscape with the cultural and tourist promotion and, thanks to ‘panoramic balconies’ and ‘sightseeing points’, creates an open-air museum leading visitors inside the Renaissance masterpieces.

As a further celebration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, the Italian Cultural Institute in Lisbon presents the exhibition Leonardo and his time, curated by Learco Andalò and Stefania Mazzotti.

The exhibit, realized in collaboration with the Italian Ministry for Culture, Dept. Libraries and Archives and Cultural Institutes and Emilia-Romagna Region, was inaugurated on May 2nd and is opened until May 13th, while the conference by Olivia Nesci and Rosetta Borchia is at the Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga of Lisbon on May 8th, at 06:30 pm.


Italian Cultural Institute in Lisbon

Montefeltro Renaissance Sight

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