Belfast Telegraph

Leonardo Da Vinci art on display at Ulster Museum

By John Mulgrew

It's breathtaking and simplistic beauty belies both its age and its historical significance — and you can see it in Belfast.

It was a study for a painting, Leda And the Swan which was destroyed around 1700.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s The Head Of Leda is believed to have been bought by King Charles II for the Royal Collection in the 17th century.

It was a study for a painting, Leda And the Swan, which was destroyed around 1700.

If around today it would be one of the most famous paintings in the world, say experts.

It is one of 10 stunning pieces by Renaissance polymath da Vinci which have gone on display at the Ulster Museum.

Best known for priceless works of art such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci was also a gifted engineer, having drawn plans for several flying machines, including the first concept for a helicopter.

Anne Stewart, curator of fine art for National Museums Northern Ireland, said da Vinci’s works are “still as fresh and as exciting today as when they were made”.

“Leonardo is the artist that everyone knows, and for a very good reason,” she added.

“People know something about him, but they perhaps don’t know of the drawings. For us to have them is just a wonderful opportunity.”

She said the artist’s Study Of An Equestrian Movement was an early sketch for a never-constructed bronze statue.

The drawings date back to 1485 and include detailed anatomical studies.

Displayed in a dimly lit gallery the free exhibition allows visitors to examine the intricacies and detail of each of the works which have been carefully preserved for hundreds of years.

Martin Clayton of the Royal Collection at Windsor — the home of the artworks — said the drawings were “among the highlights of art in Western Europe”.

The free exhibition runs until August 27 at the Ulster Museum.

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