Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Wrapped Monument to Leonardo, Piazza Scala, Milan, 1970.
Photography by Harry Shunk. © Christo 1970.
Christo and Jeanne-Claude were a married couple whose impressive and controversial works of environmental art created new ways of seeing familiar landscapes. They rejected the reading of any deeper messages within their art, contending that its purpose was to create joy and pleasure. A trope of their work was the wrapping of familiar or famous landmarks in fabric, a technique they employed from Paris’ Pont Neuf and Berlin’s Reichstag to two and a half kilometres of Sydney’s coastline and 178 trees outside of Basel.
In autumn 1970, in Milan, Christo and Jeanne-Claude wrapped the monuments to the king of Italy, Vittorio Emanuele II, and to Leonardo da Vinci in polypropylene fabric and red polypropylene rope. The fabric had been sewn beforehand according to patterns that allowed it to fold easily around the monuments. All expenses were borne by the artists. Wrapped Monument to Vittorio Emanuele II remained in place for two days, while Wrapped Monument to Leonardo da Vinci remained for one week. §