“LEONARDO’S LOST “BATTLE OF ANGHIARI”
Anghiari is a medieval village perched on top of a hill overlooking the high Tiber valley and plains, from whence you can see Sansepolcro. Between the valleys of the Tiber and Sovara rivers, there is an interlace of straight and steep alleys, where stone sit amongst wild growing plants, which themselves sit amongst terracotta vases full of flowers. For over five centuries, those who stood at the entrance of the Palazzo Morgalanti, now the headquarters of the house of Busatti, can look out and see this bella vista. No one does so the first time without having their breath taken away.
It was June 29th, 1440, when the Milanese forces of the Visconti family, guided by Niccolo’ Piccinino, confronted in the plain that face Anghiari the Florentine troops. A battle ensued and if the Milanese had won, Tuscany would have been engaged in a long battle for control. This effort would have taken so much effort and time and expense that history would have been forever altered. We would have never seen the incredible collections of Cosimo il Vecchio, Lorenzo De’ Medici, Cosimo Primo and others; the works of Michelangelo and other artists whose works were financed by them and whose fortunes were amassed in the coming centuries through banking and fortuitous marriages.
In this fiercest of times, the central allied armies of that time (Florence, Venice, Urbino and the Vatican) succeeded in defeating the Milanese in the dry Tiber riverbed and the Renaissance was safe!
Leonardo da Vinci’s painting of the Battle of Anghiari, done in the salon of Cinquencento in the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence was soon after lost due to, at the time, a feeling that the pictorial technique was too innovative and deemed worthless. The same crtiticism would be leveled at the Last Supper. The artist Rubens later did a partial version of the Battle that still can be seen. The Da Vinci version is still being hunted. Given the link between the house of Busatti and Anghiari, it is inevitable to us that we give distinction to the Battle by creating a fabric that, after 600 years, still kindles interest and marvel.