Title: Leonardo’s Colour today: from the dark to the light.
Abstract: For a long time Leonardo has been considered a “ chiaroscurista” Painter: this definition was formulated by Eugéne Muentz at the end of ninenteenth century ( 1899 ) when his paintings were compared, according to the taste of the Romantic era, to those ones by Rembrandt. Furthermorethe diffusion of the images of his paintings through the first photographs of mid-ninetheenth century and the bad reproductions in popular books until a few decades ago did contribute to the idea that he was not familiar with colours and this concept also prevailed in art criticism of the first half of the twenthieth century. Despite being well known that Leonardo dealt extensively with colours, light and coloured reflections in his Treatise on Painting and particularly on Colours Perspective, we have to wait the radical changes in art criticism caused by the important restorations which took place at the end of the last century, first of all the restoration of the Last Supper painted in “a secco” technique ( not in fresco technique ) in the Refectory of the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. This restoration lasted almost twenty years ( 1977-1999 ) and revealed the true colours of the composition remained covered under many layers of repaints for five centuries that produced ( together with the effect of alteration and pollution ) a very dark look of the painting. The restoration of the Adoration of the Magiat the Uffizi in Florence, in these last years, always considered to be a monochromatic painting, has revealed, in turn, to be an unfinished coloured painting as it is the Sainte Anne in the Louvre, which appears indeed, after recent cleaning, in all its subtlety of colour passages. Even the Leonardo’s masterpiece, the Mona Lisaat the Louvre, should appear richly coloured, and not dark and yellowish, if a very light cleaning should be tempted to improve its look.