Title:Multimedia Interpretation of a Restoration: Leonardo da Vinci, Painter in Milan
Authors:Michela Negrini, Nicoletta Di Blas
Publication:MWF2014: Museums and the Web Florence 2014

On the occasion of the restoration of “Sala delle Asse” (literally, “the hall of planks”) by Leonardo da Vinci at the Sforza Castle in Milan, a multi-faceted communication project by HOC-LAB at Politecnico di Milano (Italy) was devised and is currently being implemented. The ultimate goal is quite new: to allow people to follow the restoration day by day, sharing hypothesis, discoveries, successes as well as discomfitures, fostering a sense of belonging and care for this long-forgotten work of art. A number of other communication goals must be fulfilled in order to make the visitors’ experience complete and satisfactory: to provide background information from a cultural, historical and artistic point of view; to illustrate the restoration’s issues (like what kind of analysis are to be performed and what kind of choices are made); to “tell stories”, long or short, about what goes on, etc.
Following the above, a complex multimedia communication project has been designed: it entails a website, with monthly content updates, a set of short interviews to the people involved (experts, restorers, archivists, historians, politicians, sponsors…), snapshots of the room and the people at work, an exploratory portal including a large collection of various materials, such as documents, images, videos, and – most importantly – digital multimedia stories, illustrating the room’s history, the decoration, the diagnostics techniques, the analysis techniques, etc. Users are envisaged to visit the website repeatedly to check the new content and get acquainted with the news about the room.
In the case of Sala delle Asse project, the restoration has not closed but rather opened the room’s doors to all eyes, showing what goes on day by day: it is probably the first (brave) example in the world of a restoration work being told as it unfolds rather than when it is completed.