Monday, February 04, 2019

Where you can see the Leonardo da Vinci drawings

144 of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection are currently on display in 12 simultaneous exhibitions of Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing across the UK.

If you want to get to see the various exhibitions around the UK - or even all of them(!) - this is where you can see them.
  • They are listed below in alphabetical order of the locations
  • PLUS one of the images that can be seen at that location.
From 1 February - 6 May 2019, to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, 144 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection will go on display in 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK.
This is a nationwide event. It rebuffs the notion that all the good art is only shown in London. In fact, it will give da Vinci's drawings the widest-ever audience to celebrate the 500th anniversary of he death of da Vinci in 1519.
12 drawings selected to reflect the full range of Leonardo's interests – painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany – will be shown at each venue in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland.
Longer exhibitions will then be held at first the Queen's Gallery in London - followed by the Queen's Gallery in Edinburgh.

The exhibitions include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including
  • pen and ink, 
  • red and black chalks, 
  • watercolour and 
  • metalpoint. 
They also present new information about Leonardo's working practices and creative process, gathered through scientific research using a range of non-invasive techniques, including ultraviolet imaging, infrared reflectography and X-ray fluorescence.

I've also included
  • links to BBS news items - with the relevant gallery - which show more images and videos of the drawings on display.
  • links to any useful items relevant to particular exhibitions
The drawings in the Royal Collection have been together as a group since the artist's death, and provide an unparalleled insight into Leonardo's investigations and the workings of his mind.Leonardo da Vinci drawings to go on display in Birmingham in 2019 | Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery Blog
For more information

The Nationwide Exhibitions

Exhibitions will be held in the following twelve locations between 1 February – 6 May 2019

Belfast - Ulster Museum

Ulster Museum, Belfast
Leonardo da Vinci, The skull sectioned, 
1489, traces of black chalk, pen and ink

Birmingham - Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
Leonardo da Vinci, A Map of the Valdichiana, 
c.1503-4, watercolour, pen and ink, ink wash over black chalk
You can download the large print copy of the labels before you go - and you'll get to see the explanations for each of the drawings
Leonardo was an accomplished map maker. This map illustrates the Chiana valley in central Italy, with north to the left of the sheet. The river Tiber can be seen running along the top edge, the river Arno on the left and the city of Siena in the lower centre.

The marshy lake in the valley allowed the spread of malaria. It seems probable that Leonardo was employed by the Florentine government to create this map as part of a civil engineering project to drain the marsh. (Label for exhibit)

Bristol - Bristol Museum and Art Gallery

  • Venue: Bristol Museum and Art Gallery
  • Admission: 
    • £6 adult* | £5 concession* 
    • Under 16s FREE
  • Tue-Sun: 10am-5pm Closed Mondays except Bank Holiday Mondays and Mondays during Bristol school holidays: 10am-5pm
Bristol are charging people for entry - while most other cities are showing their exhibitions for free. Bristolians may want to comment on this!

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery 
Leonardo da Vinci, Cats, lions and a dragon, 
c.1517-18, black chalk, pen and ink, wash
Anybody else got visions of da Vinci the cat lover - drawing next to a cat who likes to walk all over his drawings?

Cardiff - National Museum

There is also a programme of educational activities for schools and colleges to support this exhibition, details on our Learning pages

National Museum Cardiff
Leonardo da Vinci, A deluge,
c.1517-18, black chalk, pen and ink, wash 
There's also a second drawing which shows the underdrawing in infrared light

Derby - Derby Museum and Art Gallery

No image has been provided for Derby....

Glasgow - Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
Leonardo da Vinci, A star-of-Bethlehem and other plants,
c.1506-12, red chalk, pen and ink

Leeds - Leeds Art Gallery

Leeds Art Gallery,
Leonardo da Vinci, A design for an equestrian monument,
c.1485-8, metalpoint on blue prepared paper

Liverpool - Walker Art Gallery

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
Leonardo da Vinci, The head of Leda,
c.1505-8, black chalk, pen and ink
"Leonardo da Vinci is undoubtedly one of the most renowned and influential artists in history, having left a major impact within the disciples of both art and science."Xanthe Brooke, Curator of European Fine Art, National Museums Liverpool

Manchester - Manchester Art Gallery

These beautiful drawings will be on display in one of our smaller galleries and at busy times, including 11am–3pm weekdays and during weekends, you may be required to queue in order to see the works.
Manchester Art Gallery
Leonardo da Vinci, The head of a youth,
c.1510, red and black chalks on orange-red prepared paper
This is a a very interest blog post about the Manchester on The Mancunian - Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing
Curator of the Manchester Art Gallery, Natasha Howes, describes how the mancunian embodiment of this project is slightly different to that of the 11 other exhibitions.Ten years ago, the gallery displayed an exhibition of da Vinci’s drawings from the Royal Collection, so this time round was looking to do something a bit different. Whilst the other shows are made up of drawings spanning a range of da Vinci’s themes, this exhibition is thematically curated; the 12 drawings are all based around the human body.

Southampton - Southampton City Art Gallery

Southampton City Art Gallery
Designs for gun-barrels and mortars, 
c.1485, pen and ink

Sheffield - Millennium Gallery

  • Venue: Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
  • Admission: FREE
  • The Millennium Gallery will be open until 8pm every Thursday to give visitors the opportunity to see the exhibition after work. (except 7 & 21 Mar)
Our programme of Inspired by Leonardo talks, workshops and events will be listed in the events section of our website soon.
Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
Leonardo da Vinci, Studies of water,
1510-12, black chalk, pen and ink 
The exhibition will also reveal the underdrawing which can only be seen when viewed under infrared light

Sunderland - Sunderland Museums and Winter Gardens

Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens
Mortars firing into a fortress,
c.1503-4, black chalk, pen and ink, wash
This is a blog post by a blog aimed at families - Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition 2019 | A Life in Drawing, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens

The Extended Exhibitions

London - Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace

  • Venue: Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace
  • Dates: Friday, 24 May 2019 - Sunday, 13 Oct 2019
  • Admission: 
    • Adult £13.50
    • Over 60 £12.20 
    • Student £10.80
    • Under 17 / Disabled £6.70
    • Under 5 Free
    • Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £33.50
  • ALL Tickets allow readmission to other exhibitions for the whole year
On 24 May 2019 the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen's Gallery

This will be the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in over 65 years. You only get to experience this once in a lifetime.

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London
Studies of hands for the Adoration of the Magi รข?? sheet 1 under ultraviolet light,
c.1481, metalpoint (faded) on pink prepared paper 
This is the image of a sheet of paper which apparently has no marks on it at all - until you put it under ultraviolet light at which point Leonardo's hand studies in metalpoint become apparent.

The theory is that they he did these in copperpoint as this has a tendency to fade with age.

Edinburgh -The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (Edinburgh)
  • Venue: The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse
  • Dates: 2 Nov 2019 - 15 Mar 2020
  • Admission:
    • Adult £7.50
    • Over 60 £6.80
    • Student £6.40
    • Under 17 / Disabled £3.80
    • Under 5 Free
    • Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £18.80
A selection of 80 drawings will travel to The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse from 22 November 2019 - 15 March 2020

This will be the largest group of Leonardo's works ever shown in Scotland - very much a once in a lifetime event!

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh
c.1504-5, black chalk and charcoal


Producing this blog post has been a very interesting exercise in which museums put the effort in and create proper websites for the exhibition and associated events programmes - and which simply "go through the motions".

I hope the Royal Collection Trust will make a note of this for any future similar ventures to share works within the Royal Collection.

One simple indicator - where is the museum's URL for the exhibition relative to other websites.....

I did an identical search query for all - and some came top of the pile immediately - and some I had to search for. The latter will probably never ever read this blog post!  To those that are doing well - I know who you are and I'm hoping the RCT does too!

[UPDATE: It's also be an interesting exercise in who charges and who does not. I've gone back over the post and inserted the admission charges for each venue

I've absolutely no objection to paying for the exhibition at the Queen's Gallery in London given I'll be able to see 200 drawings.

However I do wonder at the "mission to inform" of those who have been given these drawings to exhibit - and are now charging for entry.]

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