NEWS

2012-01-16

Da Vinci drawings

A COLLECTION of Leonardo da Vinci's most famous drawings are all set to go on display as they begin their year long tour of the country in celebration of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee.

Starting at Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery today/yesterday (FRI), the ten rare drawings by the Renaissance artist will also be on show in Bristol. Belfast, Dundee and Hull before 2012 ends.

The carefully selected display has been hand-picked from the Royal Collection's 600 Da Vinci drawings which are normally preserved in the Royal Library at Windsor Castle and can never been on permanent display because of the damage caused by an exposure to light.

Speaking about the Royal Collection's treasured works, which have been to lent to exhibitions all over the world, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawing, Martin Clayton, said: "They are some of his greatest and most famous drawings, it's the first time they've been displayed together.

"It took a bit of time to tweak the selection because what I tried to do with the ten was to choose a selection that sum up his career.

Among the exhibition is the famous drawing 'The head of Leda (c.1506-6)' which is based on Greek mythology and was acquired for the Royal Collection by Charles II.

Also in the show, which is touring the country to celebrate the Queen's Diamond Jubilee, is 'The head of an old bearded man in profile (c.1517-18)' - which critics think is one of the Da Vinci's last ever drawings.

And 44-year-old Mr Clayton, who has worked at the Royal Collection for 21 years, is encouraging people to come and see the Da Vinci display which he hopes will dispel the theory that you need to spend hours at an art exhibition.

He added:"With these ten drawings, you get a very good sense of what Leonardo was like as a man and an artist."

Councillor Martin Mullaney, Cabinet Member for Leisure, Sport and Culture, said:  “This stunning exhibition will provide a magnificent start to 2012 and the city’s celebrations to mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee.  

Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world’s greatest and most well known artists and I am delighted that Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery has been selected as the first venue in the UK to display this prestigious exhibition.  

It will be the first time works by the great master will go on show in the city and with the current Leonardo fever this exhibition will attract visitors from far and wide to the city.