Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing opens this February at Southampton City Art Gallery – Southampton City Art Gallery

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing opens this February at Southampton City Art Gallery

29 Jan 2019

Southampton City Art Gallery will be just one of 12 venues hosting simultaneous exhibitions of Leonardo da Vinci’s work, which is on loan from the Royal Collection in partnership with Royal Collection Trust, to mark the 500th year since his death. The gallery is honoured to be the only venue on the south coast of England to be hosting the world renowned artists’ incredible work.

Southampton’s exhibition will show a wide variety of drawings that follow Leonardo da Vinci’s interests over time, including incredibly detailed studies and sketches of ideas annotated with his characteristic backwards writing, such as A branch of blackberry, c.1506–12, A rearing horse, c.1503–4 and Designs for gun-barrels and mortars, c.1485.  Leonardo da Vinci: A life in Drawing offers an extraordinary insight into one of the greatest minds of the 20th century.

To mark this major exhibition of Leonardo drawings, Southampton City Art Gallery will also be showing two complementary exhibitions that celebrate drawing. The first features new work by reputed Southampton-based artist Greg Gilbert, which will be shown alongside drawings from Southampton’s own collections that resonate with Leonardo’s work, and which demonstrate the importance of drawing in an artist’s practise, and its significance as a medium in its own right.

Alongside this, there will also be an engaging programme of learning activities and events to celebrate the genius of Leonardo, including a Leonardo da Vinci Day, where you’ll be able to marvel at a life-size replica of his flying machine built by Leonardo’s Engineers, part of Ages Alive, a historical interpretations and living history company.

Councillor Satvir Kaur, Cabinet Member for Communities, Culture and Leisure, said:

“Southampton is becoming a cultural destination and it is incredible to be chosen to host works from one of the greatest artists of all time, Leonardo da Vinci. Not only does this put us on the map, but will give local communities and visitors an amazing opportunity to view and enjoy these intricate and thought-provoking drawings first hand. We have also taken this opportunity to showcase some Southampton local talent alongside. I hope everyone takes advantage and visits Southampton City Art Gallery in the coming months.”

Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, said:

“We are delighted to work with Southampton City Art Gallery, as one of Royal Collection Trust’s 12 partner venues in the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing nationwide event. In 2019, in collaboration with our partners we will be giving the widest-ever audience across the UK the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist.

The exhibition at Southampton City Art Gallery demonstrates the extraordinarily wide range of Leonardo’s work throughout his lifetime, and is a thrilling opportunity for audiences to engage directly with one of the greatest minds in history. His drawings were central to his work in every field, both his artistic projects and his scientific investigations: they allowed Leonardo to work out his ideas on paper, and can be viewed as his private laboratory.”

Following the exhibitions at Royal Collection Trust’s partner venues, in May 2019 the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November 2019, the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever shown in Scotland. This will take place 22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020.

Exhibition dates:

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (1 February – 6 May 2019)

  • Exhibitions of 12 drawings at the following locations
  • Ulster Museum, Belfast
  • Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery
  • Bristol Museum & Art Gallery
  • National Museum Cardiff
  • Derby Museum and Art Gallery
  • Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow
  • Leeds Art Gallery
  • Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool
  • Manchester Art Gallery
  • Millennium Gallery, Sheffield
  • Southampton City Art Gallery
  • Sunderland Museums & Winter Gardens

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (24 May – 13 October 2019)

Exhibition of over 200 drawings

The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London


Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020)

Exhibition of 80 drawings

The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh


For more information please visit www.rct.uk/leonardo500

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