Birmingham hosts da Vinci drawings

By on 09/01/2012 in Culture, News

Birmingham's Museum and Art Gallery is the opening venue for a national tour of ten drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, to celebrate Her Majesty the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

It will be the first time that works by the Renaissance master Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) will go on show in Birmingham. Visitors will get a unique opportunity to see some of the most fascinating and accomplished drawings ever produced and to engage at first hand with one of the greatest minds of all time.

The exhibition has been selected to show the extraordinary scope of Leonardo's interests: painting and sculpture, engineering, botany, mapmaking, hydraulics and anatomy. The exhibition in Birmingham is expected to draw large numbers of visitors before going on tour to five other venues across the UK (see notes to editors).

Amongst the works included in the exhibition is The head of Leda (c.1505-6).  The
Work, which is based on Greek mythology, is a preparatory drawing for the painting Leda and the Swan which was destroyed around 1700.  The drawing, which was probably acquired for the Royal Collection by Charles II, shows Leda with a modest downward glance which characterises most of the women in Leonardo's paintings.  The artist has devoted minute attention to her complicated hairstyle of braided and interwoven plaits.

Also in the show is The head of an old bearded man in profile, c.1517-18
This is probably one of the very last drawings made by the artist. The rough study of an old, decrepit man in profile is not a literal self-portrait, but surely captures something of Leonardo's own feelings about his imminent demise.

Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, said:  “This stunning exhibition will provide a magnificent start to 2012 and the city's celebrations to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world's greatest and most well known artists and I am delighted that Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has been selected as the first venue in the UK to display this prestigious exhibition.
It will be the first time works by the great master will go on show in Birmingham and with the current Leonardo fever this exhibition will attract visitors from far and wide to the city.”

For further information please visit or call 0121 303 2834.

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Media contact: Jason Lewis 0121 303 4266

Notes to Editors

The Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci exhibition at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery is sponsored by Coutts

  • Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery
    13 January - 25 March 2012
  • Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
    30 March - 10 June 2012
  • Ulster Museum, Belfast
    15 June - 27 August 2012
  • The McManus: Dundee's Art Gallery & Museum
    31 August - 4 Nov 2012
  • Ferens Art Gallery, Hull
    10 Nov 2012 - 20 Jan 2013

1. The Royal Collection contains a group of around 600 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. These delicate works are preserved in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle and are among the greatest treasures of the Collection. Although the drawings can never be on permanent display, because of the potential for damage from exposure to light, they are regularly lent to exhibitions around the world and examples are always on show at Windsor.

For further information and photographs, please contact the Royal Collection Press Office,
+44 (0)20 7839 1377, . A selection of images is also available from .

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