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Achademia Leonardi Vinci: Journal of Leonardo Studies and Bibliography of Vinciana.

Leonardo da Vinci has been the beneficiary of some of the finest art historical scholarship - and some of the finest examples of art , book publishing - in recent memory. A key figure in both developments has been Professor Carlo Pedretti of the University of California at Los Angeles. Unquestionably the leading Leonardo scholar of his generation, Pedretti is among the most prolific Leonardo scholars of all time.

Many readers of this journal will be familiar with the remarkable series of facsimiles of Leonardo's drawings and manuscripts that the Florentine publisher Giunti has been issuing over the past decade and a half, mostly under Pedretti's editorship. It will therefore come as no surprise that the journal Achademia Leonardi Vinci, also published by Giunti and edited by Pedretti, is a bibliophile's delight. A large 8 [degrees] in format (32 X 21.5 cm), the ALV journal (as it is generally known) is printed on handmade paper with deckled edges, bound in printed wrappers with flaps. The five volumes published so far average 200 pages with 100 plates, most in remarkably faithful color. Though unnumbered, the edition is limited to 998 copies. Contributions generally appear in English, French or Italian.

Pedretti's personal stamp is evident throughout: in the design of the publication, in his brief editorial introduction to each volume, in his own characteristically wide-ranging contributions - which occasionally take the form of responses to contributions by other scholars - and in the very structure of the journal. Each volume is divided into three sections: I. Leonardo Studies; II. Bibliography & Documents; III. Events (Lectures, Colloquia, Exhibitions, Auctions, etc.). This arrangement - with the section on bibliography and documents literally at the heart of each volume - no doubt reflects the editor's lifelong cultivation of both genres, as does the full title of the journal, which stresses "bibliography of Vinciana." Pedretti is possessed of an unrivalled familiarity with the immense literature on Leonardo, and in his commitment to documentary studies he is the heir of such great Leonardo scholars as Luca Beltrami and Gustavo Uzielli.

The five volumes published so far have each been devoted to special themes. Volume I focused upon the concept of the Academy, expanding upon the title of the ALV journal itself Volume II was dedicated to Leonardo and sculpture, volume III to Leonardo and the moderns, volume IV to Leonardo and the antique. The most recent volume, volume V, revolves around the timely theme "Leonardo and 1492." Yet in conception the journal is anything but procrustean, and each volume offers surprises - notable articles that rest uneasily within the confines of the volume's overriding theme.

Volume V features - among "Leonardo Studies" - important articles by Laurie Fusco and Gino Corti ("Lorenzo de' Medici on the Sforza Monument"); Janis Bell ("Color Perspective, c. 1492"); Alessandro Parronchi ("Un |tondo' per il San Girolamo"); Francesca Florani ("Abraham Bosse e le prime critiche al Trattato della Pittura di Leonardo"); and Rita Severi ("The Myth of Leonardo in English Decadent Writers"), to cite a few. The "Bibliography and Documents" section includes, inter alia, notes on the ideas of beauty and utility in St. Augustine and Leonardo, on the possible existence of Leonardo's baptismal certificate and on previously unnoticed references to Leonardo in Marco Boschini's Carta del navegar pitoresco; as well as a preliminary sampling of Uzielli's correspondence with J. P. Richter. The final section ("Events") includes Martin Kemp's Armand Hammer Lecture, "In the Beholder's Eye: Leonardo and the |Errors of Sight' in Theory and Practice."

No review is complete without a quibble or two. To this reader, the final section of each volume, devoted to current events, occasionally tries too hard to record every event of conceivable interest to Leonardisti; ephemera are more suitably registered in ephemeral publications such as newsletters. Running headers in the beautiful sections of plates would ease the reader's labor in matching texts and images. And given the evident care with which the journal has been produced, a surprising number of printing errors have survived proofreading.

The ALV journal has appeared with encouraging regularity since its inception. Let us hope it will be spared the checkered fate of its sister publication, the venerable Raccolta Vinciana, of which only twenty-four volumes have been published since it first appeared in 1995. The Raccolta has recently revived under the editorship of Augusto Marinoni, which only underscores the importance of the individual in such enterprises. Carlo Pedretti's commitment to Achademia Leonardi Vinci bodes well for its future.
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Copyright 1994, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Marmor, Max
Publication:Renaissance Quarterly
Article Type:Periodical Review
Date:Sep 22, 1994
Words:736
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