Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition Heads for Ulster Museum

In just a year's time visitors to the Ulster Museum will be able to view some of Leonardo da Vinci's greatest drawings in an exhibition which will provide an unparalleled insight into the workings of the artist's mind

The exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, is part of a nationwide event organised by Royal Collection Trust to mark 500 years since the Renaissance master’s death. In total 144 of Leonardo’s drawings will go on display in 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK, in an initiative designed to give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist.

The Ulster Museum’s exhibition will include two of Leonardo’s most famous works – The Head of St Anne, made around 1510 in preparation for his famous masterpiece The Virgin and Child with St Anne, which hangs in the Louvre, and an anatomical drawing from 1489, The Skull Sectioned.

The exhibition will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint.

In 2012, the Ulster Museum hosted Ten Drawings by Leonardo da Vinci: A Diamond Jubilee Exhibition from the Royal Collection, one of the Museum’s most successful exhibitions ever, and it is expected that next year’s exhibition will draw even bigger numbers of visitors from Northern Ireland and beyond.

Anne Stewart, Senior Curator of Art, National Museums NI, said: “We are thrilled to partner with Royal Collection Trust and to host this very special exhibition by one of the world’s most celebrated artists next year.”

She added “The works which will be on display at the Ulster Museum have been carefully selected to reflect the range of Leonardo da Vinci’s interests – painting and sculpture, botany, anatomy, engineering, hydraulics and mapmaking. Each drawing in the exhibition will offer its own fascinating story and insight into the exceptional talent and mind of Leonardo, and we are sure our visitors will be enthralled by it.”

Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, said: “The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci are a national treasure, both incredibly beautiful and the main source of our knowledge of the artist. We hope that as many people as possible across the UK will take this unique opportunity to see these extraordinary works, which allow us to enter one of the greatest minds in history, and to understand the man and his achievements.”

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will run at the Ulster Museum from February 1 until May 6, 2019 and will be be accompanied by a series of events including special tours, lectures, art sessions and sketching workshops. Admission to the exhibition will be free.

In May 2019, following the exhibitions at Royal Collection Trust’s partner venues, the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years.