Southampton City Art Gallery’s exhibition of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection to open in 2019 – Southampton City Art Gallery

Southampton City Art Gallery’s exhibition of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection to open in 2019

21 Feb 2018

In February 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. Southampton City Art Gallery will be the only host venue on the south coast, with their exhibition running from 1 February – 6 May 2019.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will feature 12 drawings, which have been selected to reflect the full range of Leonardo’s interests – painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.


Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, said, “The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci are a national treasure, both incredibly beautiful and the main source of our knowledge of the artist. We hope that as many people as possible across the UK will take this unique opportunity to see these extraordinary works, which allow us to enter one of the greatest minds in history, and to understand the man and his achievements.”

The exhibition will also include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint. They will 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.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure said, “It is a great honour to be welcoming Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings to Southampton City Art Gallery, in the heart of Southampton’s Cultural Quarter. We are delighted to be part of this truly remarkable national project, in partnership with Royal Collection Trust. Leonardo da Vinci is one of the greatest artists of all time, and we are thrilled to be the only gallery on the south coast to be hosting this exhibition.”

To mark this major exhibition of Leonardo drawings, Southampton City Art Gallery is producing a series of complementary exhibitions. This includes an exhibition, by reputed Southampton-based artist Greg Gilbert, featuring drawings that resonate with Leonardo’s work. “To be exhibiting alongside one of art’s seminal figures at Southampton City Art Gallery is a wonderful honour”.

The gallery will also be displaying drawings from its Designated Fine Art collection, which demonstrate the importance of drawing in an artist’s practise, and its significance as a medium in its own right. This will all feature alongside an engaging programme of learning activities and events to celebrate the genius of Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci's sketch of a rearing horse

Leonardo da Vinci, A rearing horse, c.1503-4Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

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