AN exciting programme of activities, assemblies and workshops for schoolchildren will complement a forthcoming exhibition showcasing the work of Leonardo da Vinci.

Next month, a dozen drawings by the Italian master will be on show at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens as part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Sunderland is one of 12 UK venues chosen by Royal Collection Trust to simultaneously host the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life Drawing exhibitions, which will feature a total of 144 of the Renaissance master’s drawings. The exhibition will run from February 1 to May 6, 2019.

To make the most of the groundbreaking exhibition, Sunderland Culture has created a schools programme to help pupils explore Leonardo’s fascination with science and art.

Jennie Lambert, Public Engagement and Learning Manager at Sunderland Museum, said: “This is the largest exhibition of the artist’s work ever to be seen in the north east and is a unique opportunity for schools in Sunderland and the wider region to experience his art. Our schools programme will explore themes in the exhibition including anatomy, engineering, botany, cartography, portraiture and sculpture.

“Each of our packages can become a full day visit option using the teacher-led Draw Like Leonardo and Inventors’ trails around the museum. There are also downloadable resources for key stages 1 – 4 for teacher-led activities in the exhibition and lesson plans to use in the classroom for pre-visit or follow-up work on our website www.sunderlandmuseum.org.uk. All visits to the exhibition must be pre-booked.

“We’ve been working with local schools to test the sessions and resources – recently, Year 5 children from Hudson Road Primary School tried the anatomical drawing activities, drawing bones and skulls from the museum using pencils and pastels. The school has already booked a Leonardo themed assembly with us.”

The main schools packages are split into three categories: premium, standard and basic, with prices starting at £50 per schools group. Each of the packages includes an introduction from a member of the museums team and an exclusive viewing of the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition.

The premium package also includes facilitated Think Like Leonardo creative enquiry sessions and a facilitated Draw Like Leonardo anatomy session. The standard package includes the creative enquiry session, but not the drawing session.

In addition to these main packages, the museum will also be hosting Forces and Flight and Amazing Bodies sessions led by Green Shift Educational Services to celebrate the British Science Festival. These sessions will be held during the week of March 11-18 and aim to get inside the mind of Leonardo the engineer and anatomist. Sessions will include demonstrations and practical model building workshops, and are priced at £100 per session per Upper KS2 class.

As well as hosting visits to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, museum staff will also be going into local communities to spread the word of the exhibition through school assemblies. These 30-minute assemblies will be about the life of Leonardo and what made him such an extraordinary artist and scientist. Assemblies, costing £50, will be available on school days between February 2 and May 6 and can be adapted for all key stages.

A limited number of places (priced at £20) are still available for a teacher Continuing Professional Development session on Sunday, February 3 (10am – 1pm) at the museum. The Think Like Leonardo: Unleash Creativity Through STEAM session will be a facilitated exploration of how educators can be inspired by Leonardo to unleash the creativity of their students. Speakers including STEAM experts will be discussing practical approaches to encouraging creativity in the classroom.

To book any of the school packages, assemblies or sessions, or to book a place on the teacher CPD session, email Jennie at [email protected] or ring her on 0191 5612323.

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 most famous pieces.

The nationwide exhibitions will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by Leonardo, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point. They 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.

The exhibitions will be on shows at venues across the country from February 1 to May 6. 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.”

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