Many across history have been called "Renaissance Men:" American Statesman Benjamin Franklin, British scientist Isaac Newton, even our very own Jose Rizal. These are men recognized not only for their great intellect but for the broad spectrum of fields they've engaged with that intellect. However, if the title was to go to only one great figure, it may only refer to only man: Leonardo da Vinci. Painter, sculptor, humanist, scientist, architect, philosopher, engineer - he was a wondrous man in an age of wonders. The man who painted the world's most famous portrait (as well as the Philippines' favorite dining room decor) also explored human anatomy, designed fortresses and war machines, and wrote extensively on the human condition. He even supposedly ran a kitchen with early Renaissance contraptions (to the horror of the kitchen staff.)
In celebration of the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death, the The Philippine Italian Association, the Italian Embassy in the Philippines, and the Italian Chamber of Commerce in the Philippines Inc. launched Leonardo in Manila at the Cultural Center of the Philippines on 23 October, 2019. The series of events runs throughout the month of November and will feature events that highlight Leonardo's Creativity, Curiosity, and sense of Wonder. PIA president Zenaida “Nedy” Tantoco expressed hope that the the event fosters greater cultural and intellectual exchange between Italy and the Philippines.
The centerpiece of the celebrations is Massimiliano Finazzer Flory’s multi-medium opus "Being Leonardo da Vinci: An Impossible Interview" which can be experienced as a movie, a play, or a masterclass. "Being Leonardo da Vinci" is an exploration of the Renaissance Master's mind through his own words, portraying a truly improbable scenario where two 21st Century journalists interview Leonardo da Vinci in the flesh. His responses, delivered by Flory himself in both play and movie, are drawn directly from Leonardo's voluminous journals.
"Being Leonardo da Vinci" will be shown 19 November, 2019 at Cinematheque Center Manila and again on 20 November at the CCP Dream Theater as part of the Leonardo Masterclass. Massimiliano Finazzer Flory himself will leads the Masterclass and delves into the key themes surrounding Leonardo's enduring impact on the world. On 21 November, the CCP Little Theater will set the stage for the one-act "Being Leonardo da Vinci" play with Flory in collaboration with Filipino actor, director and screenplay writer Carlito Casaje.
Of course, Leonardo in Manila has many other events in-store for the celebrations. An exploration of Leonardo’s iconic “Last Supper” by James Freney will be held 13 November, 2019 at Caruso in Bel Air, Makati. Cook-Off with Leonardo, a festival of Leonardo-inspired cuisine will be held on 5, 6, and 14 November 2019 at the Lyceum of the Philippines University Manila Culinary Institute.Finally, a dinner lecture on “Leonardo da Vinci, Wine and Cuisine” by Chef Salvatore Arria and sommelier Luca Galli will be held on 20 November, 2019 at the Ponte di Rialto restaurant at the Venice Piazza Mall in Taguig.
For the full details of the event as well as well as ticketing options, visit the Leonardo in Manila Facebook page on this link and the Philippine-Italian Association Events Page on this link. Leonardo in Manila is made possible with the support of with the support of Oman Air, Rustan’s, Hotel Jen Manila by Shangri-La, and East West Bank.
For more on Leonardo in Manila as it unfolds, follow Roots and Wings on Facebook! And watch out for the full story on the next issue of Roots and Wings coming in December!