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‘An exceptional insight’: Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings come to Cardiff

On the 500th death anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci, the National Museum of Wales in will be hosting 12 drawings of the famed artist.

The exhibition is an expression of life and science as seen by the artist.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is an exhibition of 144 drawings across 12 cities in the UK organised by the Royal Collection Trust. The exhibition aims to display the Renaissance master’s greatest drawings from a range of Leonardo’s interests from sculpture to anatomy to even botany.

Anne Pritchard, the senior curator of the exhibition says, “We have been planning for the exhibition for over two years and finally the people of Cardiff have once in a lifetime chance to see the drawings up close and personal.”

The exhibition begins on 1 February  and will go on till 6 May, giving plenty of time for locals to visit the museum. Even though the museum is free to enter, the exhibition has an entrance fee of £5 for adults, £4 for concession and free entry for 16 and under.

Anne with the lead picture of the exhibition. Credits- Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, said, “The exhibition demonstrates a thrilling opportunity for audiences to engage directly with one of the greatest minds in history. It is an exceptional insight into his works.”

The drawings have been together as a group since the artist’s death, making this exhibition even more exciting as most of these drawings were meant for the artist’s eyes only.

Pritchard says, “Sadly we can’t have these drawings on a permanent display, but the exclusivity of the display means people of Cardiff need to see this before the exhibition is over.

The drawings are meticulously preserved in controlled conditions and can’t be exposed to light for long duration as it is detrimental to the ink and paper. We also request visitors to not use flash photography inside the exhibition.

Some of the drawings are double sided and make preservation even tougher.

The drawings will be a part of a large exhibition of over 200 drawings from 24 May in The Queen’s Gallery in Buckingham Palace, London that ends on 13 October 2019.

The display also features works from National Museum Wales’s art and from Cardiff University Library’s Special Collections on the theme of ‘Art or Science.’

The masterpiece among the exhibition, an anatomical drawing by the artist depicts the principal organs and arterial system of a female and contains the ink laden fingerprint of Leonardo da Vinci himself, if you look closely.

The opportunity to see the fingerprint of Leonardo has created a lot of buzz. Credits – Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019

The museum is wheelchair accessible and one can spend hours closely analysing these drawings. The museum timings are Tuesday to Sunday, 10 AM – 5 PM. Tickets can be bought at the museum shop itself.

The shop also sells the exhibitions’ catalogue for £9.95 and other Leonardo da Vinci themed goodies including notebooks, models and keychains that cost as low as £2.99.

Also, if you wish to see these drawings at other exhibitions after the Cardiff display in any of the other 11 cities across UK, you will get a 50% off on the next exhibition ticket provided you carry your previous ticket. You can explore the collection that is on display here and find other details of events supporting the exhibition here. You can also find directions to the museum below.