A very long time ago I remember seeing some Leonardo da Vinci drawings, complete with mirror writing. I can't remember where it was or what the exhibition was about - but I still have a very vivid recollection of those drawings. Da Vinci's drawings and notebooks are so unlike most others you will ever see that I suspect this exhibition might do the same for a lot of other people.
The exhibition is in one room and has four sections which are:
- The Mind's Eye: which focuses on the eye, sight, proportion and proportional relationships (eg the Vitruvian man) and visual and mathematical expressions of the geometry of the natural world
- The Lesser and Greater World: investigations of flows and motions - water engineering and the human heart
- Making Things: architecture and inventions of entertainment and ingenuity
- Force: the force of movement, the force of warfare and the forces of the natural world
My only reservation about the website is that I wish there was a clearer message on each page about how to enlarge the truly tiny text! I know how to do it on my keyboard - I'm just wondering whether it's the same on yours....... (increase 'Control' plus '='; reduce 'Control' plus '-')
If you're unable to get to the exhibition you still have a great opportunity to view his notebooks compiled between 1489 and 1505 online here. This gives you access to the sketchbooks contained and cound within the Forster Codices.
Do also take a look at the animated illustrations that have been developed of some of his drawings - piecing together as it were the different drawings of parts which he assembled in trying to develop a coherent whole. A practice which many artists pursue when developing their final work of art.
- Vitruvian Man: delineating the idea that a man can be drawn in a square and a circle
- Human Figures in Motion: tiny sketches of figures filled his notebooks
- The Heart: a detailed anatomical study of the heart influenced by da Vinci's knowledge of water engineering
- Warfare: the tanks of his imagination invade the more traditional battlefield of horses and men with swords in the fifteenth century
- Geometrical Solids: developing a dodecahedron
- Centrally Planned Church: drawings experimenting with different plans for a church
- Anatomy of a birdÂs wing, a bird in flight and studies of proportion: studies of the comparative anatomy of a bird's wing and a human arm
- Rays of Light: depicting the impact of light on a man's face and how this relates to the properties of a parabolic mirror
- Summary: an overview linking different illustrations and, I guess.endeavoringg to show something of the range of and links within Da Vinci's thought processes.
The museum is running a series of events in association with the exhibition, including a BIG DRAW event next weekend. I've just booked my tickets to try silver point and egg tempera!
Adrian Searle gave this exhibition 4 stars in the The Guardian review of the exhibition. For me the accessibility to the exhibition provided by the dedicated microsite must surely push it up to 5 stars!
- "Experience, Experiment, Design" , an exhibition about Leonardo da Vinci
- Exhibition events
- Victoria and Albert Museum ("The V&A"), Cromwell Road, South Kensington
- V&A Collections
- How to get to the V&A
- V&A Opening Times
- Map of the V&A