LEONARDO, LUDOVICO AND THE FESTA DEL PARADISO

2019 will mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci which will be celebrated by a number of exhibitions and events worldwide.

In January 1490 a spectacular musical play with dancing entitled the “Festa del Paradiso” was performed to celebrate the wedding of Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella of Aragon. Commissioned by Ludovico il Moro and staged by Leonardo da Vinci, it was inspired by the movements of the planets, a recurrent theme in many dances of the period.

Siân has recently translated a vivid account of the evening's entertainments written by one of the guests, the Ferrarese ambassador Jacopo Trotti. Using this material as well as 15th century choreographic sources, the lecture explores the relationship between art and dance at the court of Milan, as well as the role of Leonardo more generally at the Sforza Court, with discussion of other masterpieces such as the Last Supper.

Siân Walters is an art historian and lectures for the National Gallery, The Arts Society, The Wallace Collection and many other art societies in the UK and Europe. She was also a lecturer at Surrey University for many years. Siân runs her own company, “Art History in Focus” which organises regular lectures, study days and art holidays abroad and was named a Highly Commended finalist in the World’s Best Guide Awards in 2016. She also leads art and architecture tours abroad for many companies and organisations including the Royal Academy and Kirker. In 2018 she was invited to be guest lecturer on the inaugural BRAVO Cruise of Performing Arts UK alongside Katherine Jenkins, Julian Lloyd Webber and Ruthie Henshall.

Her specialist areas are 15th and 16th century Italian Art, Spanish Art and Architecture, and the relationship between Dance and Art (she is an honorary advisor to the Nonsuch Historical Dance Society). Siân studied at Cambridge University where she was awarded a choral exhibition and a 1st for her dissertation on the paintings of Arnold Schoenberg. She has lived in France and Italy where she worked for the eminent Haydn scholar H.C. Robbins Landon and for the Peggy Guggenheim Museum in Venice.