Today (01/02), marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery unveils a display of 12 drawings by the Renaissance artist as part of a nationwide celebration beginning the same day.

This is the first time visitors can see these works on display here, offering a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view them up close and personal, here in the city. Works on paper are delicate by nature, so cannot be put on permanent display, meaning these 12 drawings are unlikely to be shown in Birmingham again.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will take shape in the form of 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK, from 1st February – 6th May, when visitors from all over will see some of his greatest drawings from the Royal Collection.

The free exhibition offers an extraordinary insight into the mind of a master. Although practised as a painter, sculptor, architect and engineer, it was his drawings that unified all areas of his work.

The Birmingham exhibition presents works from across Leonardo’s life. They include scientific studies, a study for St James in the Last Supper, a study of trees and the light falling on leaves, the head of an old bearded man and a storm overwhelming a landscape. Together they give an insight into the range of interests that Leonardo pursued throughout his lifetime.

(Image: Leonardo da Vinci: An allegory with a dog and an eagle 1508-10).

BMAG will bring Leonardo’s techniques alive for visitors through an engaging learning programme which includes guided tours, a talk from Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust, and family art activities.

Katie Morton, Exhibitions Curator at Birmingham Museums Trust, said:

“This is an exciting opportunity to see drawings by Leonardo da Vinci up close and get a glimpse into the mind of the archetypal ‘Renaissance Man’. Leonardo’s genius is truly visible through these drawings and we are thrilled to be part of this nationwide celebration with Royal Collection Trust. We are sure this exhibition will be hugely popular and urge visitors not to miss their chance to be a part of it.”

Following the exhibitions at Royal Collection Trust’s partner venues, in May 2019 the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years.  A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November 2019, the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever shown in Scotland.

 For more information on Birmingham’s exhibition visit here: birminghammuseums.org.uk/bmag/whats-on/leonardo-da-vinci-a-life-in-drawing. For more information on the 12 UK exhibitions visit rct.uk/leonardo500.

A special exhibition catalogue has been produced by Royal Collection Trust to celebrate Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing and will be available for purchase in the museum gift shop and online, priced at £9.95. shop.birminghammuseums.org.uk