Leonardo da Vinci as a Musician with Kate Bolton-Porciatti - Context Travel

Leonardo da Vinci as a Musician with Kate Bolton-Porciatti


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Da Vinci's creative persona was profoundly influenced by music, an art he described as 'the shaping of invisible things'. In this seminar, cultural historian and musicologist Kate Bolton-Porciatti illuminates his prodigious yet often overlooked musical skills, with reference to his 'divine' singing and improvisations on the lira da braccio (the spiritual descendant of the Ancient Greek lyre). We'll explore and listen to the fabulous and fantastic - musical instruments he sculpted and invented (some of which have been reconstructed and are playable today), as well as his work on multi-media dramatic spectacles.

We'll reveal the possible identity of his enigmatic 'Portrait of a Musician' and decipher his musical puzzles and coded messages. In conclusion, we'll reflect on his ideas about the shared harmonies of music and painting. A range of illustrations, images, and source readings set Da Vinci in the broader cultural context of the Italian Renaissance.

Led by an expert on Italian Renaissance music and culture, Kate Bolton-Porciatti, this interactive seminar will shed light on Da Vinci as a musician and painter of harmonies. Designed to inform curiosity as well as future travels, participants will come away with an increased appreciation of the scope of Da Vinci's genius, and the role music played in his creative development.

Kate Bolton-Porciatti is a professor of Italian cultural history and music at the Istituto Lorenzo de'Medici and at the British Institute in Florence. She has published extensively as an academic, a critic, and a journalist, and is a regular contributor to BBC Music and The Daily Telegraph. From 1989, for 17 years, she was a producer and broadcaster for BBC Arts & Classical Music in London. She did her MPhil thesis in Italy, exploring the musical and cultural landscape of 15th-century Florence.

This conversation is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.