Work of Leonardo da Vinci to go on show in Sunderland

The work of Leonardo da Vinci - shown here in a portrait - is to go on display in Sunderland next year.
The work of Leonardo da Vinci - shown here in a portrait - is to go on display in Sunderland next year.

Paintinings by Leonardo da Vinci are to be put on display here on Wearside.

Almost 150 drawings by the artist will be exhibited in simultaneous events around the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master's death.

A design for an equestrian monument, c.1485-8, one of almost 150 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci will go on display in simultaneous exhibitions around the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master's death.

A design for an equestrian monument, c.1485-8, one of almost 150 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci will go on display in simultaneous exhibitions around the UK to mark the 500th anniversary of the Renaissance master's death.

Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens will join other venues in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Southampton as they each show a selection of 12 drawings in February 2019.

A 12th location is still to be announced.

The drawings, from the Royal Collection, will the be brought together in May 2019 to form part of an exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in what is billed as the "largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in over 65 years".

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s cabinet member for public health, wellness and culture said: “This partnership with Royal Collection Trust and the opportunity to host this iconic exhibition demonstrates our city’s deserved reputation as an emerging cultural hub.

“The exhibitions held at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens continue to be a huge attraction in our city centre and the welcome they receive from both residents and visitors give us ever more opportunities to host hugely important shows in the future.”

Previous exhibitions hosted at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens have included the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, the BP Portrait Award from the National Portrait Gallery, Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences from the Arts Council Collection, and the Victoria & Albert Museum’s War Games.

Councillor Kelly added: "The attraction of art should not be underestimated.

A photo issued by Royal Collection Trust of Mortars firing into a fortress, c.1503-4 by Leonardo da Vinci.

A photo issued by Royal Collection Trust of Mortars firing into a fortress, c.1503-4 by Leonardo da Vinci.

"These events make a huge contribution to the city, its reputation and its economy.

"In 2015 over 92,000 people visited the Canaletto masterpiece A Regatta on the Grand Canal on loan from the National Gallery in London and these visitors also spend time and money here giving increased opportunities to local businesses and accommodation providers.

"I urge everyone to make time to go along and visit what I’m sure will be a fantastic event.”

The exhibition at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point.

It will also present new information about Leonardo's working practices and creative process, gathered through scientific research using a range of non-invasive techniques, including ultraviolet imaging, infrared reflectography and X-ray fluorescence.

Councillor John Kelly.

Councillor John Kelly.

Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, said: "We hope that as many people as possible across the UK will take this unique opportunity to see these extraordinary works."

Leonardo, who lived from 1452 to 1519, painted some of the most famous images in European art, with the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper among his best-known pieces.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life In Drawing will give the "widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work."

The drawings will then be brought together to form part of an exhibition of more than 200 works at the Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, in what is described as "the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in over 65 years".

The drawings reflect the Renaissance master's interest in painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography,
geology and botany.

Charles II acquired 550 of the polymath's drawings, which had been bound into a single album, and they have remained in the Royal Collection since the 17th century.

Mr Clayton added: "None of Leonardo's scientific work was ever published and, of his artistic work, only about 20 paintings survive today.

"But the common link to all his work was drawing.

"Leonardo drew incessantly throughout his life, not just to prepare his artistic projects but to spawn new ideas, record his observations and to test his theories on every subject under the sun.

"And because he hoarded thousands of drawings and pages of manuscripts right to the end of his life we have an unrivalled knowledge of the workings of Leonardo's extraordinary mind.

"Leonardo's most important drawings have been in the Royal Collection for more than 350 years.

"Because they have been protected from light, fire, insects... they are in almost pristine condition and among the greatest treasures of the Royal Collection and among the greatest artistic treasures of the United Kingdom."

After the Buckingham Palace exhibition, a selection of 80 drawings will travel to the Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, in November 2019, the largest group of his works to be shown in Scotland.

The display will run from February 1 to May 6, 2019.

The other venues are Ulster Museum, Belfast; Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery; Bristol Museum & Art Gallery; National Museum Cardiff; Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow; Leeds Art Gallery; Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool; Manchester Art Gallery; Millennium Gallery, Sheffield and Southampton City Art Gallery.