When Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan finally goes on show on November 5th at the National Gallery, it will be the culmination of years of careful planning and delicate negotiations. Bringing together some of the finest paintings by the Renaissance master and his followers, this blockbuster exhibition will feature works on loan from, among others, The Lourve, The Vatican and The Hermitage in St Petersburg. Although this amount of international co-operation is by no means unprecedented, it is certainly the first time that so many Da Vinci masterpieces will be leaving their permanent homes to be displayed side by side.
|Leonardo Da Vinci Self Portrait|
And their fears are not entirely unfounded. Back in 1963, when on loan to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, Leonardo’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, fell victim to an accident that could have left it irrevocably damaged…
In ordinary circumstances, such water damage would have proved catastrophic. Thankfully, the Mona Lisa was shielded by a thick pane of glass which protected it from the liquidy onslaught. Once the water was mopped up, the Mona Lisa was fortunately none the worse for her little adventure. The exhibition went ahead as planned and her enigmatic smile was seen by over a million people over the course of a few weeks. But, perhaps unsurprisingly, the New York Met worked hard to keep the mishap under wraps – the incident went unreported for over half a century!
|Queues to see the Mona Lisa in '63|
'Leonardo Da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan' runs from Nov 9 to Feb 5 next year.
Viewing sessions are timed and tickets are available to pre-book only.