Sadly this, with the exception on only two parts of this exhibition it is a waste of time. Multiple rooms that are mostly empty space with a few words on the walls and digital images or light boxes to interact with and that is it. With no clear direction you run the risk of missing two rooms before the end where the Madonna itself waits, which is a problem as one of those rooms is the only thing decent about the show, other than Leonardo’s masterpiece.
The worthwhile room is set up as a faux art conservationist laboratory and uses a digital show to deconstruct the work and explain how it was created. For anyone that is a fan of the BBC’s Fake of Fortune, or Britain’s Lost Masterpieces, this will be interesting.
After going through pointless room that has overly fancy and just for the sake of it light displays of the blueprints for the Milan church where the Madonna was commissioned to hang, you come to the final room. Here the actually Madonna is surrounded by a projection of a stone grey alter piece that then fills in with colour with choir music playing all around. This does show it off well but really rest of the show is just an excuse for this, far better to wait till the shows end and see it for free back on the walls of the main gallery, that is unless you have a real interest in the conservation work that it has undergone and want to learn about it and the piece in that detail.
Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece
The National Gallery
Until 26th January 2020
Feature Image – Leonardo: Experience a Masterpiece, commissioned & produced by the National Gallery and created by 59 Productions. Photo by Justin Sutcliffe.