Leonardo: A life in drawing is a breathtaking exhibition that conveys an extraordinary vision of one of the greatest minds in history
Leonardo: A life in drawing
Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace Until October 13th
It's been 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci died. To mark the occasion, the Royal Collection has sent groups of their incomparable collection of Leonardo drawings to different galleries in different parts of the country.
Now, in a breathtaking finale, 200 great drawings have been reunited at Buckingham Palace.
Leonardo thought on paper, and the size of the Royal Collection means that his entire career can be told from these drawings. This includes beautiful studies for individual paintings, including curtain studies for The last supper.
The exquisite touch that can be seen in drawings like the famous Leda never disappears (The head of Ledac 1505)
We have studies here for the lost painting by The battle of Anghiari, the concern of the artist to create movement, energy and clarity in a very complicated composition. These early works also include some joyful pieces of grotesque fantasy and observations of street life.
But although Leonardo was celebrated as a painter for the first time, his interests were certainly not limited to painting, and he steadily moved away from it. (His pictures were slower and slower as they came – as he thought of the Louvre Virgin and Child with Saint Anna, Raphael's entire career took place more or less.)
The exquisite touch that can be seen in drawings like the famous Leda never disappears. However, it is more often applied to scientific topics, engineering projects and the observation of natural phenomena.
The accuracy and beauty of Leonardo studies on dissected human bodies was never achieved (Study on a Woman's Hands, c. 1490).
Probably the most impressive of these are the anatomical studies. The accuracy and beauty of Leonardo studies on dissected human bodies was never matched, and student doctors could still be taught by them.
The precision of Leonardo's understanding of the hand is breathtaking, as is the calm of the mind – we believe he is an artist who has never looked away or drawn what he thought he knew.
He worked on other projects all the time. The extraordinary maps, the study of weapons and projectiles, the imaginary statues and the measurement of military fortifications were carried out for his patrons like Ludovico Sforza.
The precision of Leonardo's understanding of the hand is breathtaking, as is the calm of the mind (The fetus in the wombc 1511)
There are occasional studies of men's heads and other artistic explorations to the end, but some of the interests here only testify to Leonardo's restless curiosity.
The many drawings of floods and rivers at full speed deal with a question that must have remained unanswered before the camera was invented. What do we see when we look at a stream of water?
There are occasional studies of men's heads and other artistic explorations to the end, but some of the interests here only testify to Leonardo's curiosity (The head of Judasc 1495)
What would it be like if all movements were removed from it? Now of course we know. The amazing truth of Leonardo's drawings is that you had to have Leonardo's eye to try to answer.
This is a breathtaking exhibition that conveys an extraordinary vision of one of the greatest minds in history. Not to be missed.
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