Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is coming to Kelvingrove!

12 of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, lent by Her Majesty The Queen from the Royal Collection, will be on show at Kelvingrove.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is coming to Kelvingrove!

Image Credit: Royal Collection Trust © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2018

The exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will be displayed simultaneously in twelve venues across the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death. Kelvingrove Museum is the only Scottish venue to host this exhibition, with different works on view in museums and galleries across the country. A total of 144 drawings will go on show.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing at Kelvingrove Museum presents Glasgow Museums with an excellent opportunity to participate in a national celebration of one of the most internationally-recognisable artists ever. Highlights of the exhibition in Glasgow include A star-of-Bethlehem and other plants c.1506-12 and The anatomy of a bear's foot, c.1488-90.

After the exhibition the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in May 2019. It will be 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.

Chair of Glasgow Life, Councillor David McDonald, said: “We are absolutely delighted drawings by Leonardo da Vinci will go on display at Kelvingrove Museum, as part of Royal Collection Trust’s nationwide event. As the only Scottish venue to host Leonardo drawings as part of the simultaneous display across the country, we are eagerly anticipating the arrival of works by an artist widely considered to be one of the greatest of all time.

“Over one million people visit Kelvingrove Museum every year and we are proud that like all Glasgow Museums it remains free to visit. Many of our visitors will be thrilled to hear a selection of Leonardo’s sketches is coming to Glasgow and that they will have the opportunity to see the master’s intricate drawings up close.

“Kelvingrove Museum houses one of Europe’s finest art collections and we’re excited to extend our offering by hosting Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing. This is a wonderful opportunity to engage citizens and visitors alike and join in the national celebration of one of the most internationally-recognisable artists ever to have lived.”


The works have been selected to show the extraordinary scope of the artist's interests, from anatomy, maps, weather, mechanical design, landscape, natural history and portraits, as well as his use of different media, including ink, chalk and watercolour.

Through drawing, Leonardo attempted to record and understand the world around him. It is widely known that he believed an image could convey knowledge more accurately and concisely than any words. Even so, many of his drawings contain numerous explanations and notes.

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.’

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will be on show in Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland and five regions across England. These are Ulster Museum, Belfast, Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, National Museum Cardiff, Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow, Leeds Art Gallery, Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool, Manchester Art Gallery, Millennium Gallery, Sheffield, Southampton City Art Gallery, and Sunderland Museums and Winter Gardens, with a further venue to be announced.

There are almost 600 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection. They were originally bound into a single album, which was probably acquired in the 17th century by Charles II. Beyond the 20 or so surviving paintings by Leonardo, the artist's drawings are the main source of our knowledge of this extraordinary Renaissance man and his many activities.

For more information visit www.royalcollection.org.uk/Leonardo500

Last Updated: 7 February 2018 13:43

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