Leonardo -the extraordinary

By | Category: Travel news

This year marks the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, a person whose name – if not all his achievements – is known by people around the world.

the image being used to publicise the da Vinci commemoration in the UK

It is hard to discuss him without mentioning one rather small painting, the Mona Lisa which now hangs in the Louvre. It is with this picture – thought to be the most expensive in the world – with which he is associated. It is believed that just about fifteen to twenty of his paintings have survived, one of which – Salvator Mundi – sold for over $450 million in 2017. But there are plenty of his prints. There are over a thousand with the Queen supposedly owning the greatest number and some of these will be on display this year.

From next month, 200 drawings will go on display at Buckingham Palace and from November about 80 will be on display at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland. It has been estimated that up to a million people will go to one of these two exhibitions and that will include many overseas visitors enticed by the exhibits.  So extensive is the show that it will be the largest show of Leonardo drawings in the UK for more than sixty years.

In addition there is an exhibition at the Bodleian Libraries in Oxford and a selection of drawings from da Vinci’s notebooks will be available for visitors going to the British Library from the beginning of June.

the most famous painting in the world?

At the Louvre in Paris, there will be an exhibition from October which, the organisers claim, will have the largest collection of da Vinci works. It has, as everyone knows, the Mona Lisa.

But it isn’t only in the UK and France that Leonardo is being remembered. His other interests included sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, flight, the natural world, botany, military tactics, cartography and geology and various museums will be concentrating on his output apart from paintings.

At the Sforza castle near Milan in Italy, da Vinci was employed to decorate the walls of the Sala delle Asse towards the end of the fifteenth century.  Covered and wrongfully attributed the Sala delle Asse re-opens on May 15th after some restoration work and visitors will be able to see the remnants of da Vinci’s work.

Nearby at the Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia “Leonardo da Vinci” in Milan, there is one – if not the world’s best collection – of machines made from da Vinci’s drawing such as his flying machine, his tank and his diving suit. From the middle of July these and many others will be on display until October.

Ingres – the Death of Leonardo da Vinci painted in 1818

Da Vinci died at the Château du Clos Lucé in Amboise in central France and to which he brought three paintings amongst which was the Mona Lisa. Here he spent the last three years of his life. A number of events are planned in memory of da Vinci whose tomb is in the nearby Châteaud’Amboise.

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