LEONARDO. Genius and Beauty
3 May – 20 September 2019
Venice, Museo di Palazzo Mocenigo
Cosmetica Italia – Associazione nazionale imprese cosmetiche
Accademia del Profumo
In collaboration with
Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna
A little-known aspect of Leonardo da Vinci will come to light in this exhibition organised to mark the fifth centenary of his death: his work as a cosmetologist and perfumer, dedicated to the creation of fragrances and cosmetics. A reconstruction of the lively network of exchanges between the major Renaissance courts enables us to learn of the experiments and recipes for cosmetics that Leonardo shared with the most important female figures of the day.
Also on show will be pioneering recipes for depilatory ointments, creams made from snail slime and hair dyes. Leonardo even influenced hairstyles: “Da Vinci knots” are found in many paintings in which hairstyles are embellished with jewels, nets and perfumed fabrics.
At the court of Ludovico il Moro in Milan, Leonardo organised parties, designed clothes and costumes, as well as inventing fabrics, jewels and perfumes. The exhibition will highlight the link between Milan and Venice: two cities where the use of perfume was widespread and hairdressers commonly sold cosmetics and perfumes. A specific role in the service of the court was dedicated to a “magister of perfumes”, who procured for the ladies little phials of mixtures for bleaching the hair, a very popular fashion in Venice.
The project has been conceived by scholar Maria Pirulli and conducted by Cosmetica Italia – Associazione nazionale imprese cosmetiche and Accademia del Profumo in collaboration with Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna.