«Due Nostre Donne di varie grandezze» di Leonardo a Milano digital
formato: Articolo | ARTE LOMBARDA - 2010 - 3
«Due Nostre Donne di varie grandezze» by Leonardo in Milan EDOARDO VILLATA In the drafts of two letters datable to 1508, to be sent to Charles d’Amboise and to Goffredo Carolo, Leonardo states that he had done «in assai buon porto» two «Nostre Donne» destined for the King of France; yet we know nothing of these works. They cannot be identified with any known Leonardesque work, but they must have existed. They must have been works of a relatively small format, connected with the inventions between 1505-1506, and they must have been known mainly in Lombardy. Perhaps there is a hypothetical model that corresponds to such characteristics: the one behind a certain number of Lombard Nativities of the second decade of the 16th Century, the best example of which is the one from the church of Santa Maria dei Canali in Tortona. Also, the model was still popular in the seventeenth century, thus very authoritative even if inaccessible today. We can find the oldest account of it in a drawing under the layer of paint in a Madonna at Brera, convincingly attributed to Fernando Yáñez de Almedina, a Spanish artist who was with Leonardo until 1506. This drawing shows an inclined female head, along the lines of very well-known examples such as Leonardo’s St. John the Baptist or Leda, and very similar to that of some Madonnas painted by Raphael in his Florentine years. Hence the hypothesis that such a prestigious model could only be the sketch for one of the «due Nostre Donne» which Leonardo himself mentions.