This exhibition (22 January-30 March) of Leonardo drawings is the first in the US that can lay claim to being “comprehensive”, that is, giving some idea of the encyclopaedic range of his interests as they appear in works on paper, with nearly 120 works showing scientific studies, portraits, battle scenes, architectural studies and preliminary drafts for his paintings and sculptures, as, for example, the sketch of a rider and rearing horse trampling on a fallen foe, his study for the Sforza Monument (below). Even so, it will appear in a yet larger version when it opens at the Louvre later this year (9 May-14 July). The drawings come from the Louvre, the Met, the British Museum, Windsor, from Italian and German museum collections, as well as from private collections worldwide. Besides demonstrating Leonardo’s libido scientiae, they also illustrate the range of his drawing styles and techniques, hence the title of the show. The exhibition includes drawings by other Florentine and Milanese artists to put Leonardo in perspective and to build up a view, by way of comparison with his contemporaries, of his truly extraordinary range of interests and abilities as a draughtsman. The exhibition is sponsored by Morgan Stanley and is supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Originally appeared in The Art Newspaper as 'Leonardo da Vinci: master draughtsman'