This site uses cookies to provide a better experience. Continuing navigation accept the use of cookies by us OK

“LEONARDO’S PARADISE: a Masterpiece of Theatre, Science, and Wonder at the Sforza’s Court”



“LEONARDO’S PARADISE: a Masterpiece of Theatre, Science, and Wonder at the Sforza’s Court”

“LEONARDO’S PARADISE: a Masterpiece of Theatre, Science, and Wonder at the Sforza’s Court”

Italian Cultural Institute | 500 N Michigan Ave | Suite 1450 | Chicago IL
Thursday, April 25, 2019 from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM

25 apr


A lecture by Dr Francesca Bortoletti, University of Minnesota

Presented on the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci

Described by Giorgio Vasari as a “truly admirable painter, sculptor, art theorist, musician, writer, mechanical engineer, architect, master metal-worker, artillery expert, inventor, anatomist, scientist”, Leonardo da Vinci was also an unforgettable scenographer. On January 13th 1490, Leonardo was commissioned by the duke Ludovico Sforza to organize in Milan a majestic spectacle, called ‘Festa del Paradiso’, for the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza with Isabella d’Aragona. In the ‘Sala Verde’ of the Ducal Palace, Leonardo elaborated a ‘Paradise’ with all the seven planets orbiting round and hosting the seven gods of Olympus, who came to earth to pay homage to the new duchess. Leonardo chose the mythological, astrological, and encomiastic subject for creating unprecedented mechanical scenery. This talk will explore models and heritage of Leonardo’s theatrical ingegno, which inaugurated a new genre of theatrical entertainment and engineering invention for the wonder of
the Sforza’s court and its foreign illustrious guests.

Dr Francesca Bortoletti is currently Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. in Theatre History from the University of Bologna and Centre d'études supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours. After working at the Universities of Bologna and Ferrara, she moved to the USA. In 2014 she was research fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studied at Columbia University.
Subsequently, she collaborated as research fellow for a European research project at the University of Leeds, UK, and she was research fellow at the Getty Research Institute in LA. She is leading an interdisciplinary digital project on Italian Renaissance Festivals, which has been supported among all of the Italian Academy, the Delmas Foundation, the Mellon Foundation-CSPW grant. She has published several articles in peer-reviewed international journals or book chapters, and three books: Egloga e spettacolo nel primo Rinascimento (Bulzoni 2008); L'attore del Parnaso, (Mimesis 2012); and La performance della memoria (Baskerville 2018).

Free and open to the public.



Date: Thursday, April 25, 2019

Time: From 6:00 pm To 8:00 pm

Organized by : Istituto Italiano di Cultura Chicago

Entrance : Free


United States