February 2019 will mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. To celebrate the life and oeuvre of one of the most significant artists of all time, 12 of the Renaissance master’s drawings from the Royal Collection will go on display at Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery, as part of 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK. 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 research.
Twelve drawings, selected to reflect the full range of Leonardo’s interests – painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany – will be displayed at each venue. Highlights will include the Head of an Old Bearded Man (c.1517-18), and A Map of the Valdichiana (c.1503-4).
The exhibitions Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will 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 technical research using a range of techniques including ultraviolet imaging, infrared reflectography and X-ray fluorescence. The findings will be brought together in a groundbreaking new book, Leonardo: A Closer Look, published by Royal Collection Trust in February 2019.