But the Battle of Anghiari is only famous on account of Leonardo Da Vinci, who in 1503 was commissioned by the Gonfalionier Pier Soderini to paint the battle in the Chamber of the Grand Council of the Palazzo Vecchio. Having spent more than a year working on the rough drafts, Leonardo painted only a section of the wall: the "fight for the standard", a group of four horsemen who are wrestling for the Milanese banner, two infantrymen locked in combat, and a third soldier on the ground, beneath a horse’s hooves. Our knowledge of this episode is based on rough sketches, on a handful of descriptive texts and on a fair number of copies. Leonardo used oils for this work, similar in technique to encaustic painting, but they sadly turned out to be unstable. To dry the colours he had to light enormous fires, which damaged the paintings beyond repair. Following this disastrous attempt, he put the work on hold and left for Milan. His incomplete masterpiece was then buried beneath frescoes by Giorgio Vasari, who was executing structural and decorative changes ordered by Cosimo I de’ Medici, which saw the chamber transformed into the Salone dei Cinquecento, as it is known today.
In Anghiari there is a museum dedicated to the battle, but two other museums too. Let’s discover them together.