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Ten of the finest drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection will travel from Windsor Castle to the Laing Art Gallery in Newcastle to be shown in a new exhibition - supported by the Port of Tyne, offering a rare opportunity to see the works outside of London. The touring exhibition will then travel to Dublin, Nottingham and Swansea.


The exhibition is on show at the Laing Art Gallery from 13 February - 24 April 2016, with works carefully chosen to show the extraordinary scope of the artist's interests, from painting and sculpture to engineering, zoology, botany, mapmaking and anatomy, as well as his use of different media - pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point.

Jonathan Marsden, Director, Royal Collection Trust, said: "The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection are among the greatest artistic treasures of this country. Through this touring exhibition, we aim to bring these extraordinary works of art within easy reach of people across Great Britain and Ireland."

Julie Milne, Chief Curator, Laing Art Gallery, said: "We are honoured to be chosen as the first venue to host this exhibition of ten Leonardo da Vinci drawings on its tour of the UK and Ireland. This will be a rare opportunity for people in the North East of England to see the exquisite work of one of the greatest artists of all time. We take pride in showcasing world-class art at the Laing Art Gallery and partnerships with esteemed organisations such as Royal Collection Trust are vital to helping us achieve this. We are very grateful to be given this opportunity."

Susan Wear, Director of Corporate Affairs, Port of Tyne, said: "The Port of Tyne is proud to support communities, arts and business within its area of operations. Sponsoring this exciting nationally acclaimed exhibition will hopefully promote tourism and bring more visitors to the region."

There are almost 600 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection. They were originally bound into a single album, which was probably acquired in the 17th century by Charles II. Beyond the 20 or so surviving paintings by Leonardo, the artist's drawings are the main source of our knowledge of this extraordinary Renaissance man and his many activities. Leonardo's drawings are the richest, most wide-ranging, most technically brilliant, and most endlessly fascinating of any artist.

Amongst the sketches in the exhibition is an exceptional chalk drawing of ‘A study for the head of St Anne', c.1510-15. This relates to Leonardo's celebrated painting of ‘Madonna and Child with St Anne and a lamb', which occupied him over the last two decades of his life. In this atmospheric drawing he captures the delicate fall of light on the face of St Anne and the complexities of her delicate headdress with a single piece of black chalk.

Another outstanding study of a male nude is part of Leonardo's preparations for ‘The Battle of Anghiari', a huge mural commissioned by the Florentine government. It is complemented by a set of charming drawings of a baby's chubby limbs, which may have been a study for one of the paintings of the Madonna and Child that he produced early in his career.

An expressive pencil drawing of ‘A Deluge c.1517-18', with twisting winds and torrential water overwhelming a landscape will also be on show. His spirited ink drawings of horses are complemented by lively ‘Studies of cats, lions and a dragon', c.1513-18. Leonardo's interest in anatomy, the natural world, and mechanical engineering are represented in two double-sided pages of studies annotated in his distinctive mirror writing. A map of a weir on the River Arno also illustrates Leonardo's expertise in hydraulic engineering.

The exhibition is created in partnership with Royal Collection Trust. A small admission charge applies; see for details and booking.

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