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LEONARDO 500. With live music! “Leonardo’s Paradise: A Masterpiece of Theatre, Science, and Wonder at Sforza’s Court”, Francesca Bortoletti. EF19

  • 14 Nov 2019
  • 5:45 PM - 8:00 PM
  • A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
  • 0


Registration is closed


“LEONARDO’S PARADISE: A Masterpiece of Theatre, Science, and Wonder at Sforza’s Court”,
Francesca Bortoletti
with the participation of the musicians Julie Elhard (viola de gamba) and Paul Berget (lute).

Thursday, November 14, 2019
5:45 - 6:30 pm, pre-talk reception 
6:30 – 8:00 pm, lecture and live music
A-Mill Artists Lofts

Described by Giorgio Vasari as a “truly admirable painter, sculptor, art theorist, musician, writer, mechanical engineer, architect, master metal-worker, artillery expert, inventor, anatomist, scientist”, Leonardo da Vinci was also an unforgettable scenographer. On January 13th 1490, Leonardo was commissioned by the duke Ludovico Sforza to organize in Milan a majestic spectacle, called ‘Festa del Paradiso’, for the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza with Isabella d’Aragona. In the ‘Sala Verde’ of the Ducal Palace, Leonardo elaborated a ‘Paradise’ with all the seven planets orbiting round and hosting the seven gods of Olympus, who came to earth to pay homage to the new duchess. Leonardo chose the mythological, astrological, and encomiastic subject for creating unprecedented mechanical scenery. This talk will explore models and heritage of Leonardo’s theatrical ingegno, which inaugurated a new genre of theatrical entertainment and engineering invention for the wonder of the Sforza’s court and its foreign illustrious guests.

Dr Francesca Bortoletti is Assistant Professor at the University of Minnesota. She received her Ph.D. from the University of Bologna and Centre d'Études Supérieures de la Renaissance, Tours. In 2014 she was research fellow at the Italian Academy for Advanced Studied, Columbia University, and subsequently for an European research project at the University of Leeds, UK. Her research interests include theatre history, literature, and visual arts in early modern society as well digital humanities. As new faculty member in the History of Medicine Program at UMN, she is currently extending her interdisciplinary approach across the arts, sciences and the medical humanities. She has published three books and articles in books chapter and in peer-reviewed international journals.

Julie Elhard, viola da gamba, appears regularly as a soloist and chamber musician and has made several appearances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, including the St. Matthew Passion by Bach under the direction of Nicholas McGegan. Ms. Elhard has received multiple grants from the Minnesota State Arts Board as well as a Jerome Foundation grant. Ms. Elhard received a Performing Artist Certificate from the Royal Conservatory of Music in The Hague, Netherlands and has taught at workshops in North America and at the Viola da Gamba Society of America’s national conclaves. She currently teaches viola da gamba at St. Olaf and Macalester colleges, and at the St. Paul Conservatory of Music where she has created a viola da gamba method for children and non-string players called the Passamezzo Method.

Paul Berget received his B.F.A. degree from the University of Minnesota in 1972. After graduation, he continued his studies with the legendary Diana Poulton at the Royal College of Music in London, where he also studied with acclaimed lutenist Nigel North. In 1973, he appeared on Broadway in a musical production of Cyrano starring Christopher Plummer. In addition to playing early music, he has also performed in a variety of other musical styles: modern classical and steel string guitar, and world music. Other early music collaborations include the Rose Ensemble, Ensemble Polaris, the Minnesota Lute Quartet (MiLQ), and performances with the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra.

Mirella Rossi Heimpel is a native of Rome. She holds a Laurea in Psychology from the University of Roma "La Sapienza". Mirella has lived in the United States for 23 years and taught Italian privately and through different community programs. Besides focusing on the four basic skills of speaking, listening, reading and writing, she attaches equal importance to learning about Italy and its rich culture.

DATE & TIME: Thursday, Nov. 14, 6:30-8:00 PM (reception from 5:45 pm to 6:30 pm)

VENUE: A-Mill Artist Lofts, 315 SE Main St, Minneapolis, MN 55414
PARKING: street parking is available on Main St. using the parking meter terminals. There is a parking ramp located 2 blocks away on 2nd St. (201 2nd St SE Garage). Free parking is available after 6 pm on 2nd St. 

Registrations are now open!

This event is part of


a series of events presented by
The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis / St. Paul,
celebrating Leonardo da Vinci
on the 500th anniversary of his death. 

In collaboration with

the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, University of Minnesota' s Department of Art History, Institute for Astrophysics, Program in History of Medicine and the Wangensteen Historical Library.

Curated by

Dr. Francesca Bortoletti
University of Minnesota

Also, a big Thank You to Global Minnesota
for supporting our events as part of their Year of Italy (2019-2020)


“Leonardo da Vinci and his Unfinished Work”Carmen C. Bambach
Thursday, September 5, 2019
6:30 – 7:30 pm, Minneapolis Institute of Art
Click here for more information

“The end of the Dark Ages”, Claudia Scarlata
Thursday, October 3, 2019
6:30 – 8:00 pm, The University of Minnesota | MN Institute for Astrophysics 
Click here for more information

The Theater of the Human Body
One-week exhibit curated by Francesca Bortoletti in collaboration with Lois G. Hendrickson and Emily Beck
October 21-25, 2019
9:30 am – 4:00 pm, The Wangensteen Historical Library
Click here for more information

“Exploring Leonardo da Vinci’s Painting Techniques”
Live demonstration with master painter Mark Balma
Thursday, October 24, 2019

6:30 – 8:30 pm, A-Mill Artist Lofts
Click here for more information

“Leonardo’s Paradise: A Masterpiece of Theatre, Science, and Wonder at Sforza’s Court”, Francesca Bortoletti
Thursday, November 14, 2019
6:30 – 8:00 pm, A-Mill Artist Lofts
Click here for more information


Department of Art History
Institute for Astrophysics
Program in History of Medicine

250 Third Ave. N, Suite 625
Minneapolis, MN 55401
(612) 295-4111

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