Ticket sales boom ahead of Leonardo da Vinci exhibition in Sunderland

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More than 1,000 tickets have already been snapped up for an exhibition of drawings created by one of the world’s greatest artists at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, featuring 12 drawings from the Italian master, is part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death and Sunderland is one of 12 UK venues chosen by Royal Collection Trust to simultaneously host the exhibition.

One of the drawings which will feature in the exhibition

One of the drawings which will feature in the exhibition

A total of 144 Leonardo drawings will be on show across the country, with 12 of those being shown at Sunderland Museum from Friday until May 6.

Admission to the exhibition is by pre-booked tickets only, priced £2.50 each, and 1,000 have already been bought ahead of this week’s opening.

Keith Merrin, chief executive of Sunderland Culture who delivers the programme at the museum on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “We’re thrilled, but not too surprised, at the interest shown in Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing.

“It’s a privilege for Sunderland to host such a prestigious exhibition and people from across the region and beyond have been booking their tickets. The 12 drawings selected for Sunderland reflect a range of Leonardo’s interests and include great examples of the drawing materials

employed by him.”

Drawings on show at the Sunderland exhibition are: The drapery of a kneeling figure, c.1491-94; A portrait of a woman in profile, c.1485-90; Mortars firing into a fortress, c.1503-4; A horse and rider, and studies for Leda, c.1503-4; A bird’s-eye view of western Tuscany, c.1503-4; A sprig of guelder-rose, c.1506-12; Studies of optics and men in action, c.1508; Studies of optics, c.1508; The lungs, c.1508; The bladder, c.1508; The muscles and tendons of the lower leg and foot, c.1510-11; Studies of architecture and a bird’s wing, c.1512-13; A costume study of a prisoner, c.1517-18; A deluge, c.1517-18.

Martin Clayton, head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust, said: “We are delighted to work with Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, as one of Royal Collection Trust’s 12 partner venues in the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing nationwide event. In 2019, in collaboration with our partners we will be giving the widest-ever audience across the UK the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist.”

A range of artistic projects and programmes, organised by Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, will complement the exhibition.

These include a variety of activities, assemblies and workshops for schools and a project with University of Sunderland students working at FabLab and responding to the question ‘if Leonardo was alive now, what would he create?’

There is also a family programme which includes a Leonardo-themed week during February half- term (February 18 – 22); Leonardo trails around the Museum and a takeover by the Dominic Wilcox Little Inventors project during the Easter holidays.

•Tickets for Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, costing £2.50, can be pre-booked online by visiting  www.sunderlandmuseum.org.uk  or at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens reception during opening hours. Entry for under-16s is free, but they will need a ticket.