Leonardo expert Pedretti dies (2)

Regarded as Italy's top man on Renaissance genius

(ANSA) - Florence, January 5 - Carlo Pedretti, considered Italy's top expert on Leonardo da Vinci, died at his villa outside Pistoia on Friday.
    Pedretti, who would have turned 90 tomorrow, conceived his passion for Leaonardo at an early age in his native Bologna.
    By his 13th birthday he had taught himself to write left handed and read backwards as did Leonardo. Pedretti's first articles about Leonardo were published in 1944 at the age of 16. An article in Milan daily Corriere della Sera of 31 January 1952 carried the headline: "At the age of twenty-three he knows everything about Leonardo." For the past seven decades Pedretti has been regarded as the foremost authority on the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci. In his foreword for the book "Carlo Pedretti - A Bibliography of His Work On Leonardo da Vinci And The Renaissance (1944-1984)", compiled by Joyce Ludmer, famed art historian Kenneth Clark states: "He (Pedretti) is unquestionably the greatest Leonardo scholar of our time..." Pedretti was a professor emeritus of art history and the Armand Hammer Chair in Leonardo Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles, and the author of more than 50 books and 700 essays and articles in various languages, on the many aspects of his speciality. He was a member of the ministerial committee for the National Edition of the Manuscripts and Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. His honours, conferred in Italy and abroad, included the Gold Medal for Culture of the President of the Italian Republic in 1972, and in that same year, the Congressional Citation, which is the highest award from the Government of the United States. He was also awarded the honorary citizenship of the city of Arezzo (2001) and got an honorary degree from the universities of Ferrara (1991), Urbino (1998) and Milan (Catholic, 1999), as well as that of the University of Caen in France (2002). He was an honorary member of the ancient Academy of Euteleti at San Miniato and other prestigious organizations and institutions in Italy and abroad. Pedretti was also a regular contributor to the cultural pages of Corriere della Sera and Vatican daily L'Osservatore Romano.
    In 1992 he edited the International Exhibition "The Bridges of Leonardo", produced by the Cultural Excalibur Linen Lavorgnas in partnership with the City of Malmoe in Sweden. He was noted as an expert consultant in authenticating disputed works by Leonardo.
    In 1985 he attributed to Leonardo a wax model (c.1506-08) of a bucking horse with rider, possibly an equestrian portrait of Charles d'Amboise, the French Governor of Milan from 1503-1511 and Leonardo's friend and patron. The wax statuette, including B&W photographs, were first published as a work by Leonardo in 1987, in "Leonardo da Vinci-In The Collection of Her Majesty the Queen At Windsor Castle" a special project entrusted to Carlo Pedretti.
    In 1998 he attributed to Leonardo, as a preparatory study for the Battle of Anghiari, a drawing of the painter Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni (1934-2000).
    On April 24, 2008 he was awarded honorary citizenship of the town of Vinci, Leonardo's native hamlet, where there is a museum to the artist.
    photo: Pederetti (L) with journalist and historian Piero Angela at a Leonardo show in 2011