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The Events


« Two days ago, on Sunday, the Christian king gave a feast, a most admirable celebration, which I describe to you as follows. The place was named Le Cloux, big and beautiful palace. […] There must have been four hundred chandeliers so bright you’d think night was chased away »
Letter by Galeazzo Visconti, Ambassador of Mantoue at the court of France, describing the Festa del paradise organised by Leonardo da Vinci in the gardens of the Clos Lucé on Juni 1518 to thank the king of his good deeds. »

exhibition perfumes leonardo da vinci clos luce
Exhibition

Leonardo da Vinci and the Perfumes of the Renaissance

FROM 7 JUNE TO 15 SEPTEMBER 2024

This exhibition-event was conceived, produced and realised under the direction of Le Clos Lucé, with Professors Carlo Vecce and Pascal Brioist, curators of the exhibition. The exhibition explores Leonardo's interest in perfumes and their development. It also reveals the cultural heritage he inherited from his mother Caterina, a freed slave from the Orient.

Through thematic rooms, visitors are transported to key periods and places in the lives of Caterina and Leonardo, from the perfumed markets of Constantinople to the court of Francis I, via the shops of the Spezieri in Venice (merchants of drugs and other medicinal preparations), Leonardo's native Tuscany, his workshop in Florence and the Sforza court in Milan.

Visitors to the exhibition will discover two original drawings by Leonardo da Vinci on loan from the Ambrosian Library in Milan, The Alembic and the Asphodel, and four paintings by his pupils. A functional alembic still and a Cyprus birdcage (an elaborate perfume burner in fashion during the Renaissance), recreated by researchers from Leonardo's drawings and writings, are on display.

An olfactory device illustrates the scholar's writings on enfleurage and maceration techniques: "Place the barkless almonds in the middle of bitter orange, jasmine, privet or other fragrant flowers and change the water each time you need to renew the flowers so that the almonds do not take on the smell of mould. Solvents. Remove the ammonia", Codex Atlanticus, fol. 195v.

A wide range of objects highlight the different uses to which perfumes were put in the 15th and 16th centuries: medicinal, religious, aesthetic, etc. On display are books of therapeutic recipes, medicine jars, incense burners, scented rosaries, pomanders, perfume burners, flasks, gloves and even scented shoes. A selection of the finest Renaissance paintings depicting Italian noblemen adorned with their perfumed accessories complete the exhibition.

Activities

Discovering wildlife at Clos Lucé

Organised by Jean Michel Feuillet, LPO Centre-Val de Loire coordinator

Le Clos Lucé, with nature guide Jean Michel Feuillet from the LPO Centre-Val de Loire, is organising three events focusing on the often little-known world of the wild fauna present at the heart of the estate.

You don't need to have a great knowledge of wildlife, Jean-Michel Feuillet will be guiding visitors of all ages through three special themes.

FREE WORKSHOPS - BOOK ON SITE AT THE TICKET OFFICE

12/06/2024 - 7pm to 10pm (15 people)

  • Night-time excursion to the Parc du Clos Lucé
  • Discover nocturnal fauna by listening to the songs and wild sounds of the nigh

Heritage Day - 21/09/2024 and 22/09/2024 - 11.30am and 2.30pm

NOCTURNES CLOS LUCE
Performing arts

Nocturnes Théâtrales

11, 12 & 13 July 2024

After dedicating three years to the legacy of William Shakespeare, contemporary of Leonardo da Vinci, in 2024 Le Clos Lucé proposes to discover Le Testament Médicis, a play written by Stéphane Landowski and directed by Raphaëlle Cambray. The action takes place in Paris today. The guardian of the Mona Lisa at the Louvre is preparing to retire after years of looking after the world's most enigmatic smile. Before leaving, he decides to entrust his son Laurent with a story that only he knows: the true story of Mona Lisa. This story takes Laurent on a fascinating journey through the centuries, bringing to light people who crossed Leonardo's path in the past: Salai, Lorenzo de' Medici, Francesco del Giocondo... as well as more recent names who have left their mark on the history of the painting, such as Vincenzo Peruggia, who succeeded in stealing the Mona Lisa from the Louvre in 1911.

From historical truths to purely speculative disgressions, all with finesse and poetry, the audience are led to decide for themselves the story they like to tell themselves about the extraordinary destiny of this 16th-century Florentine lady. Le Clos Lucé provides an enchanting and mysterious setting for the play, performed on its forecourt.

The story of Le Testament Médicis resonates all the more with the setting as La Joconde itself was kept for three years in Le Clos Lucé, when Leonardo da Vinci brought it with him from Italy. This historical connection strengthens the link between the show and the place, adding a special dimension to the experience for the spectators.

Performing arts

Flâneries Nocturnes

9 & 10 August 2024, 5th edition

Every year, the Château du Clos Lucé and its park invite visitors to experience a unique moment. For two evenings, the doors open to reveal the estate bathed in the subdued glow of candlelight. The luxuriant nature of the English park and Leonardo's ingenious inventions come to life under the spotlights, between shadows and shimmering lights. The evenings are enlivened by artistic performances from the Yoann Bourgeois Art Company, which combines contemporary circus, dance, theatre, visual installation and audiovisual art.

It presents four approaches from the "Tentatives d'approches d'un point de suspension" programme devised by Yoann Bourgeois.

  • Approach 11. Ellipse
  • Approach 12. Ophélie
  • Approach 17. Opening
  • Approach 19. Passage

The artistic work of Yoann Bourgeois is similar in some respects to that of Leonardo. Both artists share a fascination for movement and balance. Leonardo studied human and animal movement in his work, seeking to capture fluidity and grace. Similarly, Yoann Bourgeois explores human movement in his contemporary circus performances, playing with balance and gravity in poetic and reflective ways.

Both artists share a deep reflection on the human condition and universal experience. Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated by human nature, exploring emotions, relationships and the mysteries of existence through his work. Yoann Bourgeois tackles similar themes in his performances, questioning fragility, ephemerality and the search for meaning in a world in perpetual motion.


Concept and direction: Yoann Bourgeois, in close collaboration with Marie Bourgeois and Yvonne Smink for approaches 12 and 19
Performance: Yoann Bourgeois, Marie Bourgeois, Yvonne Smink and Alexandre Tondolo
Stage Manager: Gwilherm Bevan
Stage Manager: Eric Prin and Bérénice Giraud
Sound Manager: Chloé Barbe
Lighting director: Jérémie Cusenier
Production: Yoann Bourgeois Art Company
Yoann Bourgeois Art Company is funded by the Ministère de la Culture - Direction Générale de la Création Artistique, the Région Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes and the Département de l'Isère.

Music

European Renaissance Music Festival

20, 21 and 22 September 2024, 19th edition

The European Renaissance Music Festival pays tribute to Leonardo da Vinci the musician. Leonardo was a great music lover: we know that he played the lira da braccio and all kinds of wind and string instruments, including the famous viola organista. In 2024, the European Renaissance Music Festival will be forging links between Europe and early Eastern music.


The first evening sees the Bab Assalam ensemble present 'Derviche', accompanied by circus artist Sylvain Julien. Together, they transcend the famous hypnotic dances of the whirling dervishes. The whirling dervishes originated in the 13th century. They take up the precepts of Sufism, the mystical branch of Islam, which aims to gain knowledge of God through rituals that are often accompanied by a change in consciousness. During a ceremony, the dervishes spin around slowly at first, then faster and faster, until they reach a state of trance. This dance is a way of freeing their souls from their bodily attachments and uniting them with God. The feeling of vertigo prepares the dancers for ecstasy, known as mystical intoxication.

In a Westernised reinterpretation, Sylvain Julien takes up the quest for perpetual movement by juggling his hoops and twirling them endlessly. The musicians of Bab Assalam blend the songs traditionally associated with whirling dervish dances with more contemporary sounds produced by modern or even invented instruments: contemporary bass clarinet, Sylphyo (electronic clarinet), Clariney (a mixture of clarinet and ney, the oriental flute). In the second part of the show, live electronics and real-time sound processing add the characteristic touch of the Bab Assalam ensemble, somewhere between folklore and rock-electro.The exploration of music associated with religious rites continues on the second evening with the Trytone ensemble and its programme 'Between Earth and Sky'. This programme brings together the sacred music of Western and Eastern cultures, exploring specifically the theme of the Ascension. It reveals the interactions and reciprocal influences that have always existed between these musical traditions. The three musicians deliver music that is a cross between traditional Eastern music, the Western classical tradition and jazz, while blending different forms of improvisation. The instruments and voices engage in dialogue, carried by the richly coloured influences that the musicians have discovered in the course of their musical wanderings. A psalm by Ali Ufki, the Ottoman translator of the Geneva Psalter (the official liturgical compendium of the Calvinists drawn up in the 16th century), follows a popular Armenian song to celebrate Hampartsoum, the Christian Ascension Day forty days after Easter. This is followed by a hymn by Yunus Emre, a 13th-century Sufi poet, and compositions inspired by Bach's Ascension cantata. All sacred songs that call on the elements of nature to help man find his way in the vast world and take flight, without burning his wings.


The final concert is dedicated to the programme 'Songs from the Cycle of Life', presented by the Syrian artist Waed Bouhassoun, a member of the Orpheus 21 ensemble created by Jordi Savall. She is accompanied by 5 other musicians. Performing traditional songs from Iran, Turkey, Eastern Europe and Africa, they reveal the importance of music during the three most fundamental stages of life: birth, marriage and death. The audience experiences both the intensity of sound associated with these rituals and the silence that plays a crucial role in these key moments. The female composition of the ensemble is particularly significant in this programme. In many societies, it is women who are responsible for expressing sadness and grief through their cries, laments and songs. Before marriage, it is still women who prepare and accompany the future bride and groom through this change in social status.

Young Audiences

Christmas enchantment

from 1 December 2024 to 5 January 2025

The magical atmosphere of the festive season spreads cheerfully through the rooms of the château, thanks to the decorations designed by floral scenographer Marjolaine Bougrier Vaucelles.

Actress Pierrette Dupoyet takes on the role of Leonardo da Vinci to recount a host of anecdotes from his life for young and old alike. How he arrived in Amboise, his relationship with Francis I, the work he carried out at Le Clos Lucé and the people he met... Her story is punctuated by memories of his life in Italy.

Young visitors and their families can extend their visit by taking part in several creative workshops. Guided by passionate artists, they can let their imaginations run wild as they design unique decorations and objects, taking away precious memories with them.

Comfortably seated under a blanket, passengers in a "Christmas carriage" can admire the beauty of the winter park while enjoying a delicious mulled wine or hot chocolate.

galerie leonardo da vinci painter architect castle clos lucé
New

Leonardo da Vinci, Painter and Architect Galleries

Since June 2021

LEONARDO DA VINCI PAINTER GALLERY

The 17 masterpieces produced by Leonardo da Vinci will be projected onto the walls and ceiling of the ground floor gallery thanks to digital technologies. Along with the preparatory drawings on show, they create an original and spectacular exhibition that visitors can engage directly with. This imaginary museum presents treasures from the Louvre in Paris, the Uffizi in Florence, the Vatican Museums, the National Gallery in London, the Alte Pinakothek in Munich, the National Museum in Kraków, the State Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg and the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and immerses visitors into the Tuscan master’s painted works.

Faces, smiles and hands, perspective, the Last Supper, the blue horizons of the landscapes on his canvases all intertwine in this fascinating and lyrical circular journey through his artistic creativity.

LEONARDO DA VINCI ARCHITECT GALLERY

This exhibition offers a fun and educational tour of the achievements of Leonardo da Vinci the civil, religious and military architect, town planner and talented stage director of spectacular festivities. Facsimiles, drawings, life-size models, digital tables and 3D animation bring these disciplines to life.

In the multimedia room on the first floor, come and explore a 3D reconstruction of the Royal Palace of Romorantin designed by Leonardo da Vinci for King Francis I, through a video game created specially for the exhibition.

Where: in Leonardo da Vinci's park Price: included with your admission ticket

To whet your appetite, watch our podcast and visit galleries from your own home! (in French).

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Permanent exhibitions


« The desire to know is natural to good men. »
Leonardo da Vinci