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Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

12 cities, one celebration, 1 February – 6 May 2019

Leonardo da Vinci
Portrait of Leonardo da Vinci attributed to Francesco Melzi ©

This year we are marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest artists and scientists the world has known.

Leonardo was perhaps unique in the range of his achievements, and drawing lay at the heart of his creativity. He drew to prepare his artistic projects, to record the world around him, to pursue his scientific speculations, and to make visible the workings of his imagination.

The Royal Collection holds the finest surviving group of Leonardo’s drawings – more than 550 sheets that have been together since Leonardo’s death, acquired by King Charles II around 1670. As paper is damaged by light, these drawings cannot be on permanent display.

So to mark this anniversary, we are collaborating with 12 museums and galleries to stage simultaneous exhibitions of Leonardo’s drawings across the United Kingdom from 1 February – 6 May. All these drawings will then be brought together in the largest display of Leonardo’s works in 65 years at The Queen’s Gallery in London from 24 May – 13 October, followed by the largest group of Leonardo's works ever shown in Scotland at The Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh from 22 November – 15 March 2020.

Highlight objects

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A map of the Valdichiana

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A standing masquerader

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A study of the fall of light on a face

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A horse divided by lines

Map & directions

Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery, Chamberlain Square, Birmingham, B3 3DH