Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci's drawings and manuscripts at the Louvre

Many items on display have not been exhibited since 1952

This display of drawings, manuscripts and paintings (9 May-14 July), consists largely of works from the Louvre’s permanent collection, most of which are usually kept in the reserves. It comes just over 50 years after the Louvre’s major Leonardo exhibition of 1952 and includes 12 manuscripts from the Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France which have not been exhibited since then. The main focus of the display are 130 drawings—85 by the artist and 47 by his pupils and followers—which have been arranged thematically into groupings such as early Virgins, allegories, portraits and grotesques (the two albums in the Louvre’s collection). There are three paintings on show—Leonardo’s portrait “La Scapiliata” from Parma and, from the Louvre, The Annunciation by Verrocchio and workshop and Leonardo’s The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne (right). Part of the space is dedicated to the work of Leonardo’s pupils and followers, such as Boltraffio and Luini. The exhibition comes at a time of particular interest in Leonardo: it not only follows many international exhibitions of his work (Queen’s Gallery at Holyrood House, Metropolitan Museum in New York), but also coincides with the Universal Leonardo Project—a scientific examination into his paintings being carried out by the Oxford professor, Martin Kemp, this year. There is even a three-part drama based on Leonardo’s life to be screened soon on BBC One, starring Mark Rylance.

Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Leonardo da Vinci: drawings and manuscripts'

Appeared in The Art Newspaper Archive, 136 May 2003