TICKETS are now on sale for what is one of the most eagerly-anticipated exhibitions ever to be held at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens – Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing.
The exhibition, featuring 12 drawings from the Italian master, is part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Sunderland is one of 12 UK venues chosen by the Royal Collection Trust to simultaneously host the exhibition, which will feature a total of 144 of Leonardo drawings. The exhibition will run from February 1 to May 6.
Following the exhibitions at the 12 venues the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in more than 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November, the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever shown in Scotland.
Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture who deliver the programme at the museum on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to see the extraordinary drawings of perhaps the world’s most famous artist. We’re delighted Sunderland will be hosting part of such a major exhibition and we’re sure it will prove popular throughout the region and beyond.
“The 12 drawings selected for Sunderland reflect a range of Leonardo’s interests – architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany. They also include a range of examples of the drawing materials employed by Leonardo, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point.
“The exhibition also presents 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.”
A range of artistic projects and programmes, organised by Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, will complement the exhibition.
Jo Cunningham, Exhibitions, Collections and Archive Manager at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, explained: “We’re using the drawings and the high-profile exhibition as a catalyst to inspire and educate through a programme of projects and activities for people of all ages.
“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. There will also be monthly exhibition sessions for families with children who have additional learning needs or learning disabilities.
An adult learning programme will include: a free talk by Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust on Wednesday, February 27 at University of Sunderland’s Murray Library Theatre (6.30pm – 8.30pm) and then a guided tour of the exhibition by Martin the following day (11am); a botanical illustration workshop at the Museum on Saturday, April 27 and life drawing classes exploring nude, drapery and theatrical costume on Sundays, March 3, 10, 17 and 24 (12.45 – 4.45pm.
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.
For information and updates on the supporting activities and events, log on to the museum’s website or check social media using the hashtags #SunderlandLeo and #Leonardo500.
Leonardo, who lived from 1452 to 1519, painted some of the most famous images in world art, with The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper among his most famous pieces.