Saturday, April 30, 2016

Want to see a verified da Vinci sculpture? No problem! No lines!

Historical documents attest that Leonardo da Vinci created many sculptures, but few works existing today can be verified to be the results of his skilled hands. However, in Pescia, a city of 20,000 inhabitants (and only 10 minutes from Montecarlo and Montecatini), rests a verified sculpture of da Vinci, one that can be seen almost any day of the week, at no cost and with no lines. The statue, however, is by Pierino da Vinci, not his uncle Leonardo.
The da Vinci sculpture is on the left side. The reclining Baldassarre Turini in the center was probably done by a pupil of Michaelangelo, Raffaello di Bartolomeo Sinibaldi of Montelupo. A twin statue on the right side was probably completed by Silvio Cosini after Pierino's untimely death.

I came across this interesting information while researching another nearby statue that key art historians believe to created by Leonardo. They have to base their beliefs on stylistic comparisons with Leonardo’s known works, because no documents have been found to prove his authorship. But that’s not the case with the work by Pierino da Vinci.

The sculpture is part of the mausoleum of Baldassarre Turini. It is located in the cattedrale di Maria Santissima Assunta in Pescia’s Piazza Duomo.

Ample documentary evidence exists to
attribute this sculpture to Pierino da
Vinci, the nephew of Leonardo da Vinci.
Very few people are aware of this,” said Emanuele Pellegrini, director of the Journal of Visual Arts ( and associate professor of art history at the IMT Institute for Advanced Studies in Lucca. “But it is proven to be work of Pierino da Vinci. We have the payment documents to show this, but if you search on the Internet, you’ll see that you will find very little about this sculpture.”

Pierino, the grandson of Leonardo’s father, ser Piero da Vinci, was well on the path to fame as an artist, but he died of malaria in 1553 at age 23. Pierino, born Pier Francesco di Bartolomeo, received a payment for all of the sculptures on the tomb, but he died after he completed the first one, which is on the left side. A statue similar to Pierino’s but on the right side of the mausoleum may have been started by Pierino, but it was probably finished by one of his friends, Silvio Cosini, Professor Pellegrini said. Raffaello di Baccio Sinibaldi da Montelupo probably did the reclining figure of Turini in the center.

While he finds it unfortunate that the da Vinci sculpture has received little attention, Professor Pellegrini doesn’t find it particularly surprising. “It’s quite common in Italian provinces to find many masterpieces which are relatively unknown,” he explained.

He pointed out that a crucifix on display in a chapel in Padova went largely unnoticed for 500 years before someone realized that the author was Donatello.

“Sometimes you have masterpieces right before your very eyes, but you don’t see them because you don’t pay attention, or someone finds some documents that show who the artist was,” he said.

The duomo which holds Pierino’s sculpture has its origins in the fifth or sixth century and has been rebuilt several times. It was consecrated in 1062 by Pope Alexander II, who, according to tradition, was the parish priest of Pescia before becoming bishop of Lucca. The church was entirely rebuilt after a fire in the city in 1281.
This well done copy of Raphael Sanzio's famous work hangs
in the duomo of Pescia, near Turini's tomb.

At one time, the church also held a 1507 masterpiece by the illustrious Raphael Sanzio di Urbino. However, the Madonna of the Baldachin was sold to Turini, who removed it to his private chapel. In 1697, a high quality copy was painted by Pier Dandini, and it was placed near Turinis tomb in the Pescia duomo.

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