Belfast Telegraph

Belfast hosts Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces from Royal Collection

BY ADRIAN RUTHERFORD

He is one of the most celebrated artists in history - and now his paintings are coming to Northern Ireland.

The 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci's death will be marked in Belfast, which is one of 12 venues across the UK chosen to host simultaneous exhibitions from the Royal Collection.

Arguably the greatest collection of da Vinci drawings in the world, the collection is owned by the Queen and normally kept away from public view at Windsor Castle.

However, the display at the Ulster Museum and in other UK cities next year will give people a rare glimpse at the works of the Renaissance master.

The exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, has been organised by Royal Collection Trust.

In total, 144 of da Vinci's drawings will go on display in 12 exhibitions, in an initiative designed to give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see his work.

The Ulster Museum's display will include two of Leonardo's most famous works - The Head of St Anne, created in around 1510 in preparation for his famous masterpiece The Virgin and Child with St Anne, which hangs in the Louvre, and an anatomical drawing from 1489, The Skull Sectioned.

The exhibition will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist (inset below), including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint.

Staff expect the exhibition to draw huge numbers of visitors from Northern Ireland and beyond.

Anne Stewart, who is senior curator of art at National Museums NI, said: "We are thrilled to partner with Royal Collection Trust and to host this very special exhibition by one of the world's most celebrated artists next year."

She added: "The works which will be on display at the Ulster Museum have been carefully selected to reflect the range of Leonardo da Vinci's interests - painting and sculpture, botany, anatomy, engineering, hydraulics and mapmaking."

Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings at 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 run at the Ulster Museum next year from February 1 until May 6.

Other cities to host exhibitions include Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds and Liverpool.

Belfast Telegraph

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