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Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

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

Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition brings together 80 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection, forming the largest group of Leonardo's works ever shown in Scotland.

Drawing served as Leonardo's laboratory, allowing him to work out his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed underpinned all of creation. The drawings by Leonardo in the Royal Collection have been together as a group since the artist's death in 1519. Acquired during the reign of Charles II, they provide an unparalleled insight into the workings of Leonardo's mind and reflect the full range of his interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.


View the exhibition

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The head of Leda

Attributed to Francesco Melzi (1491/3-c. 1570)

A portrait of Leonardo

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

The drapery of the Madonna's thigh

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A map of the Valdichiana

Leonardo Interactives

Face Facts

Learn about the rules Leonardo used when drawing the head and face

Inside the amazing mind of Leonardo da Vinci

Find out about what went on inside the head of Leonardo da Vinci

Have a Heart

Learn about Leonardo's discoveries about the human heart with this interactive.

The Dancing Skeleton

Leonardo was fascinated with the movements of the body. This interactive explores the body's movements while dancing.

Learn more about Leonardo

Film: Leonardo da Vinci's Drawing Materials

Watch this film to learn more about the materials that Leonardo da Vinci used to produce his magnificent drawings

Film: The Life of Leonardo da Vinci

Watch this short film to learn more about the life of one of history's greatest thinkers

The Prince of Wales's introduction to Leonardo da Vinci exhibition

The Prince of Wales introduces the Leonardo da Vinci exhibitions

Film: Recreating Leonardo da Vinci's Signature

Watch this film to find out how we recreating Leonardo's signature

Leonardo da Vinci's life

This timeline charts the life of Leonardo da Vinci

Map & directions

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Canongate, The Royal Mile, Edinburgh, EH8 8DX
By car

There is a public car park adjacent to the Palace at Broad Pavement. Please visit the Historic Environment Scotland website for more details.

Accessible parking spaces are located on Horse Wynd, just outside the Palace, on a first-come first-serve basis.

By train

The nearest train station is Edinburgh Waverley. The Queen's Gallery is a 15 minute walk from the station.  

Visit National Rail Enquiries for times and fares.

By tram

The nearest tram stop is York Place. The Queen’s Gallery is a 20 minute walk from the stop.

Visit Edinburgh Trams for times and fares.

By coach / bus

Bus numbers 6 and 35 stop near the Gallery.  Open-top tour buses stop nearby.

Limited free coach parking is available adjacent to the Palace. Alternative pay-and-display coach parking is available on nearby Regent Road.

By bike

A free-to-use public bicycle rack is located opposite the Scottish Parliament.