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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519)

A masquerader on horseback c.1517-18

Pen and ink over black chalk | 24.0 x 15.2 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 912574

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A drawing of a young man on horseback, in profile to the right. He wears a masquerade costume, with many feathers, ribbons, and other elaborations. He carries a lance in his right hand. Leonardo was employed at the court of Francis I of France from late 1516 until his death in 1519. At this period, courtly entertainments, requiring ingenious settings and costumes, were popular throughout Europe. Major artists, such as Leonardo, were often involved in designing them, as this drawing demonstrates. The rider’s costume is extremely eye-catching; combining checked and striped fabrics with fur, quilting, and ribbons, which demonstrates the rich and exotic nature of the French court at this time. Text adapted from 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Divine and the Grotesque'