The project After Leonardo revolves around the figure and work of Leonardo Da Vinci, exploring the influence of his thinking on the particular theme of the relationship between science and irrationality, and investigating its impacts and legacies to posterity: born and formed on the end of the Middle Ages, Leonardo developed an intellectual personality that far surpassed the limits of medieval man and, while preserving some matrices of the thought of his time, gave life to a reflection on the extremely modern nature of things. On the one hand, in fact, he overcomes the vision of his peers, rather limited, as regards the consideration of reality as a rational phenomenon, interpretable and explainable through mathematical laws; on the other hand, on the contrary, it keeps alive a dose of skepticism that leads him to see the world and (above all) the behavior of men as something unpredictable, which can be calculated with accuracy only up to a certain threshold, by approximation.
This coexistence between opposites will characterize the whole experience of the pre-modern world, the one that precedes the Enlightenment: the rise of science as the dominant force in the cultural and political field, strongly contrasts doubt, irrationality, which will be maintained as a strong and constant opposite until the eighteenth century (from where it will definitely be overshadowed). Revolutionary theories such as heliocentrism, the roundness of the earth, the existence of human societies in the southern hemisphere, theories that fully deny the science of the ancient Greeks and Romans and open up immense horizons, however, struggle to establish themselves as absolute truth, because of prejudice and irrational doubts that undermine the assumptions. We continue to believe, still in the modern age, to the truths of Aristotle and, more than anything else, where these are evidently disavowed (the theme is intimately Leonardo’s: think of the first three Proemes, which concern the subject of denied authority), yes try to find a compromise between new and old.
All this had been extensively anticipated by Leonardo, both in his biographical parable (at the point of death he denied his atheism – he was a ‘loic’, that is, a ‘logical’, like Guido Cavalcanti: another very medieval thing – and embraced the faith) , as in literary writings, which show a conflict difficult to heal between reason and irrationality. The “experience”, which according to Leonardo “never fails” (Thoughts, 15a), is still a tool in human hands, which may not guess its context or use it incorrectly: very modern concepts (think , for example, the Heisenberg “Principle of indetermination”, according to which a margin of error is also concealed in the most exact measurement), which Leonardo perceives with extraordinary precocity and which mark the history of the science of the modern age. According to Leonardo, even measurement is a question of perspective; the concept also involves science: there is a profound distance between what we think of a phenomenon and its reality, a distance that only at times does science, when used correctly, manage to fill, explaining to us the nature of things.
This ambiguity of Leonardo is something that, in hindsight, reaches to the contemporary, if it is true that there have always been, even in the middle of the twentieth century, currents that are contrary to excessive scientism and that even today remain alive.
It will be possible within the guided tour, to come into contact with the artistic experiences presented by the exhibition, with a presentation of the project Dopo Leonardo, and of the humanities contents that characterize it (the project was chosen among the projects of Humanistic dissemination of the Friuli Venezia Giulia Region)
On reservation: +375 5532009, the 12th of July 2019 from 9.00 to 19.00 @the Ipogei di San Francesco (Piazza San Francesco, Matera, Italy)