A new exhibition featuring a selection of Leonardo da Vinci’s finest drawings has opened to the public at the Ulster Museum. The exhibition will continue until August 27.
Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Exhibition from the Royal Collection shows the extraordinary scope of Leonardo’s interests – painting and sculpture, botany, anatomy, engineering, mapmaking and hydraulics – as well as his use of different media, including pen and ink, red and black chalks and metalpoint.
The exhibition is being staged in collaboration with the Royal Collection Trust. The Ulster Museum will open on Mondays during July and August to facilitate demand over the holiday period.
Tim Cooke, Director of National Museums Northern Ireland, said: "It will be the first time these works by one of the world’s most celebrated artists have gone on display in Northern Ireland. We are sure this exhibition will impress both local and international visitors to the Ulster Museum and will greatly enrich our art exhibitions during this special year for tourism.'
Martin Clayton, Senior Curator of Prints and Drawings at The Royal Library, Windsor Castle, added: 'The drawings by Leonardo at Windsor are the greatest works in the entire Royal Collection, and I have chosen for this exhibition ten of the finest of those drawings.
'They will give the people of Northern Ireland the opportunity to engage directly with one of the most fascinating figures in European culture. The previous legs of this tour, in Birmingham and Bristol, have attracted record visitor figures, and I hope that the same will be true of the showing in Belfast.'
Beyond a handful of drawings, most of Leonardo’s great projects were never completed. His surviving drawings are therefore our main source of knowledge of his extraordinary achievements.
Through drawing Leonardo attempted to record and understand the world around him. He maintained that an image conveyed knowledge more accurately and concisely than words, although some of his drawings are extensively annotated.
'The level of detail in Leonardo’s drawings is quite remarkable and he was very much ahead of his time in his understanding of anatomy, hydraulics, cartography and engineering,' said Anne Stewart, Curator of Fine Art, National Museums Northern Ireland. 'Each drawing in this exhibition offers its own fascinating story and insight into this extraordinary talent and we are sure our visitors will be enthralled by it.'
The Leonardo exhibition will be accompanied by a series of events including special tours, lectures, art sessions and sketching workshops. Admission to the exhibition is free.
An illustrated catalogue accompanying the exhibition is available for purchase in the museum shop. Verbal-descriptive tours for the visually impaired are also available. For further information visit www.nmni.com.