Leonardo Genius and Beauty

The multifaceted talents of Leonardo da Vinci are widely known, he was skilled in assuming a number of different guises: inventor, sculptor, painter, engineer, architect. Something that he is less famous for, however, is his role as a cosmetologist. But as a matter of fact, the writings of Leonardo himself and the correspondence between the genius and some of the most prominent female figures of the Renaissance courts are full of recipes and experiments connected to the world of beauty and self care.

In 2019, five hundred years after the death of da Vinci, Cosmetica Italia (the Italian personal care association), Accademia del Profumo and Cosmoprof pay tribute to his brilliance with an initiative that combines a historical celebration with an exhibition that reveals one of his lesser-known talents.

This exhibition, entitled Leonardo Genius and Beauty, created by the academic researcher Maria Pirulli, will run from 14 to 18 March 2019, at Cosmoprof Worldwide Bologna. Open for the entire duration of the event at the Service Centre of BolognaFiere Exhibition Centre, the show displays a selection of codices (notebooks containing various writings, sketches and notes) detailing Leonardo’s cosmetic inventions, as well as studies on plants and flowers from his works and the first distillation experiments that would later lead to the birth of chemistry. A selection of the “experimenti” and recipes used by some of the most important female Renaissance figures also feature.

«I think that the recipes for cosmetics concocted by Leonardo – comments researcher Maria Pirulliwere seen by his contemporaries as a sort of magic (indeed, one of his nicknames was “Mago”). Similarly, today we can certainly view him as “forerunner” of everything concerning beauty and the modern cosmetics world».

Upcoming events

Venezia – From May 3 to September 20 the exhibition Leonardo Genius and Beauty will be shown at the Museum of Palazzo Mocenigo – Study Center for History of Textiles, Costume and Perfume. This edition will highlight the link between Milan and Venice: two cities where, in the Renaissance, the use of perfume and cosmetics was widespread and a specific role in the service of the court was dedicated to a “magister of perfumes”, who procured the ladies some mixtures for bleaching the hair, a very popular fashion in Venice.

Milano – Saturday 28th and Sunday 29th September the show will be hosted by Casa degli Atellani. This historical place belonged to the Duke of Milan, Lodovico il Moro, and has been Leonardo’s mansion during the realization of The Last Supper. On the occasion of this event a limited-edition fragrance will be presented: a charismatic essence, that represents Leonardo’s character with all his facets and complexities.