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Lecture “Rediscovering Leonardo da Vinci: the secret lives of his paintings” by Maurizio Seracini


As part of the official celebrations for the anniversary of 500 years from the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian Embassy in Cyprus in collaboration with the art historian Maria Paphiti, organize a lecture by the renowned Italian Professor Maurizio Seracini. The lecture will take place on 28 May at 7:15 p.m. at The Shoe Factory in Nicosia.

Leonardo da Vinci (15.4.1452-2.5.1519) is the most celebrated artist of all times. He died 500 years ago and to honour his memory Italy has dedicated this year to the great artist. A multitude of exhibitions and events are scheduled throughout Italy, as well as in many other countries. Cyprus could not but participate in commemorating the distinguished artist. The present lecture is the first of two, which will take place in partnership with the Bank of Cyprus. It is sponsored by MSC Cruises, which are represented by TopKinisis, and AlphaMega. It is supported by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Byzantinist Society of Cyprus. The second lecture will be hosted at the Cultural Centre of the Bank of Cyprus in autumn. Both are part of a series of events dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci organised in 2019 by the Italian Embassy in Cyprus.
Leonardo’s outstanding talent was expressed early in his life and as a teenager he entered the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence, where he received his education. He became not only an accomplished artist who excelled in painting, drawing, sculpting and architecture, but in fact a polymath who practiced science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He worked for the most prominent art patrons of the time, including Lorenzo de’ Medici,  Ludovico Sforza Duke of Milan, Pope Leo X and the King Francis I of France. Leonardo’s tremendously detailed and intriguing paintings exude a mystery that has been capturing the interest of scholars and the general public alike. This is exactly what Professor Maurizio Seracini is going to discuss in his lecture: the lives of Leonardo’s paintings, which are beyond what the naked eye can see.

Professor Maurizio Seracini biography

Maurizio Seracini has a background in biomedical engineer and art history. Since the middle of 1970’s he pioneered the use of multi-spectral diagnostic imaging, analytical diagnostics and other advanced technologies to study art. In 1977 he established EDITECH (Electronics, Diagnostics and Technology), a Florencebased company that was the first private centre in Europe to apply engineering sciences to the study of cultural heritage. His methodology has become a standard for scientific authentication and state of conservation of works of art. He studied more than 3500 works of art, including Leonardo Da Vinci’s Last Supper and Adoration of the Magi, Botticelli’s Allegory of Spring, Raphael’s Madonna of the Goldfinch and Caravaggio’s Medusa. He was the scientific director of the Leonardo Project in search of the artist’s long-lost mural The Battle of Anghiari in the Hall of the Five Hundred in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence.
In 2009, he was awarded an honorary doctorate from McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. In 2017 the Royal Photographic Society honoured Professor Seracini for his advances and breakthroughs in the application of Scientific Imaging to the world of Art and Cultural Heritage. In 2017 he joined San Diego State University where he has been teaching the use of applied sciences in fighting art crimes.
Seracini’ s work has been highlighted in TED talks and in many documentaries that can be seen on the National Geographic, Smithsonian, and BBC channels. Also, his work was an inspiration for author Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code.

Statement by the Ambassador of Italy in Cyprus, Mr. Andrea Cavallari

I am particularly pleased of the possibility to celebrate here in Cyprus Leonardo da Vinci’s 500th Anniversary as part of the official programme promoted worldwide by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. My gratitude goes to all those who made this event possible.
Cyprus, with its rich history and culture, is one of the countries that can better appreciate the immense figure of role that Leonardo da Vinci represents. His search for knowledge, his efforts to understand the rules governing natural phenomena and use them for the benefits of his fellow citizens and for the advancement of the society of his time, remain relevant today and are a meaningful example for all humanity.
The legend says that Leonardo da Vinci travelled to Cyprus and that he brought back to Italy a beautiful piece of embroidery from Lefkara village for the altar of the Duomo in Milano. I am sure that, 500 year later, the “piece of Leonardo” that Professor Seracini will bring to Cyprus will enlighten us on Leonardo’s struggle for expanding the limits of human knowledge, combining as never before, hope and reason. May his work and research be an example for all of us!

Statement by the art historian Maria Paphiti

Leonardo da Vinci’s multitude of talents was recognized while he was still a teenager. His art and inventiveness were impressive and in the course of his life he collaborated with the most prominent personalities of the time.

Following his death, his fame and admiration kept growing. Around 1550 Giorgio Vasari describing Leonardo in his book The lives of the most outstanding painters, sculptors and architects wrote “… sometimes in a supernatural fashion a single body is lavishly supplied with such beauty, grace and ability that wherever the individual turns, each of his actions is so divine that he leaves behind all other men and clearly makes himself known as a genius endowed by God rather than created by human artifice”.

There are only a few known works by Leonardo, yet enough to prove his grandeur. In November 2017 Leonardo’s Salvator Mundi was sold for 450,312,500 US$, much exceeding all previous records. The buyer did not just acquire a splendid picture, but in fact, the genius of the artist. Leonardo has long been a true model for the magnitude and potential of human creativity. He is a source of inspiration and worth remembering and celebrating on his anniversaries, as well as in our everyday life.

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For seat reservations and further information, please contact:

We express our sincere thanks to the following organisations, whose invaluablecontribution made the lecture possible.