Chocolate Heads Movement Band, a genre-defying student performing arts group, put on an unconventional performance in the rotunda of Green Library’s Bing Wing for the opening reception of the exhibition Leonardo’s Library: The World of a Renaissance Reader, on view through Oct. 13.
Under the direction of Aleta Hayes, lecturer in theater and performance studies in the School of Humanities and Sciences (H&S), 21 current and alumni members of the Chocolate Heads participated in developing the dance performance called The Chocolate Ball for Polymaths. The group also provided content for three artists’ books created for the performance, which are also on display at the exhibition. Artist and lecturer Michelle Wilson, in the Department of Art and Art History in H&S, created the books.
“From the start, our goal was to make this a multimedia project that gave many students the opportunity to share their vision of Leonardo,” said Paula Findlen, the Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of History in H&S and lead curator of the exhibition. “Some students have written and studied Leonardo for the exhibit and catalog, others have interpreted him through dance and performance. They have all brought their passions and enthusiasms into this marvelous collaboration.”
The opening reception and exhibition coincided with the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death. The exhibition draws on Stanford’s rare book and manuscript collections to reveal the authors and texts that shaped Leonardo’s world and influenced his ideas, reading habits and understanding of books in the age of Gutenberg
“I like to think that Leonardo would have appreciated our desire to do something a bit out of the box for his 500th, combining many different disciplines creatively. Believe it or not, Leonardo was known in his own lifetime as a Renaissance party planner. We thought we should give him a fantastic event in celebration of this anniversary,” said Findlen.