Derbyshire art lovers set to flock to special Leonardo exhibition

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A special exhibition commemorating the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death has opened at Derby Museum and Art Gallery, featuring 12 of the Renaissance master’s great drawings from the Royal Collection.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, organised by Royal Collection Trust, will give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist.

Derby is one of 12 locations nationally that will exhibit a selection of his works, along with Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland.

Kate Heard, senior curator of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, said: “Leonardo da Vinci is a fascinating artist and this exhibition shows the full range of his talent, from painter of portraits to anatomist and engineer.”

Several free public events will complement the exhibition, including a Leonardo Celebration Day on February 2, a Drawing Trail and a hands-on set of workshops from artist-in-residence Emma J Lance, who will be showcasing her Drawing Lab works in the gallery to March 3.

Tony Butler, executive director of Derby Museums commented: “Here in Derby, we pride ourselves on being a city of innovation and so it is a real coup for us to be able to bring this fascinating exhibition to the city.

“It is a proud moment for Derby Museums to be able to host works by Leonardo da Vinci, the epitome of Renaissance man, in the same building as those from Joseph Wright of Derby, painter of the Enlightenment; bringing together two of the most important strands in European thought from over the last 500 years.”

The drawings from each of the 12 cities will be brought together in May for an exhibition of more than 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace; the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel on to The Queen’s Gallery at Edinburgh’s Palace of Holyroodhouse in November 2019; the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever to be shown in Scotland.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will be free of charge with an invitation to Give What You Think, a donation that will help Derby Museums continue to bring high-profile exhibitions like this to Derby in future.

Photo credit: Kate Heard, senior curator of Prints & Drawings, Royal Collection Trust with The throat, and the muscles of the leg by Leonardo da Vinci, c.1510-11, Royal Collection Trust /

© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019