Last Chance to see Leonardo!

To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, a selection of the Renaissance master’s finest drawings are on display at the Ulster Museum, Belfast, but you’d need to be quick if you want to catch a glimpse before the exhibition closes on Monday, May 6.

Part of a nationwide event, the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition, organised by Royal Collection Trust, showcases the extraordinary artist’s works to the widest-ever audience throughout the UK and Ireland. It coincides with the artist’s death on 2 May 1519 (aged 67).

Belfast’s Ulster Museum is one of 12 museums and galleries, each exhibiting 12 of Leonardo’s greatest works reflecting the artist’s expansive knowledge and interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography and botany.

Among the famous works on display are The Head of St Anne (c. 1510-15) and The Skull Sectioned (1489). The exhibition also features studies and sketches that closely mirror Ulster’s unique manufacturing and engineering heritage, such as A map of the Arno east of Florence (1504) and Sketches for the Trivulzio monument, and other studies (c. 1508-10).

This summer, all 144 drawings exhibited simultaneously at each of Royal Collection Trust’s partner venues will come together to form a single exhibition of more than 200 works at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London, presenting the largest public exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years. A selection of these works will later be exhibited at The Queen’s Gallery, Edinburgh in late 2019.

Audiences are fascinated by Leonardo and are flocking to the museum to catch a rare first-hand glimpse of the artist’s genius, as William Blair, Director of Collections at National Museums NI, explains.

“Since opening to the public at the beginning of February, we’ve welcomed over 65,000 visitors to the Ulster Museum, surpassing the last Leonardo da Vinci exhibition we hosted in 2012.”

He continues: “Our visitors have repeatedly remarked on the extraordinary experience of being in the presence of these half-millennium-old works, most of which were not intended for others to see. First and foremost, they were personal sketches and studies by Leonardo as the artist continued to hone his skill. As such, they present a very honest representation of the man and his genius.

“I would encourage everyone who hasn’t yet visited the exhibition to take this unique opportunity to see the works as we approach such a significant anniversary and commemorate Leonardo’s lasting legacy over 500 years later.”

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is on display at the Ulster Museum until Monday, May 6 and admission is free.

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