2019 marks 500 years since the death of Italian polymath Leonardo da Vinci. Most widely known as a painter, da Vinci is commonly considered one of the greatest of all time, with a masterful skill of capturing light and the human form. Despite this, historians only attribute around 17 paintings to the man’s name; the most famous being the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and Salvator Mundi.
Da Vinci was an exceedingly talented man, whose interests and prowess spanned the realms of drawing (which he did prolifically), inventing, architecture, science, mathematics, engineering, literature, astronomy and much more. His mark on the modern world is still significant, having even recently being ranked as the sixth most influential person who’s ever lived by a group of MIT scholars.
To mark the 500th anniversary of his death and celebrate his abundant works, museums and galleries around the world are hosting a range of da Vinci events and exhibitions this year.
The city of Milan will be holding a range of events up until January 2020 in celebration of da Vinci, who spent a large part of his life in the city. One of the highlights includes ‘Leonardo and the secrets of the Codex Atlanticus’ at Pinacoteca Ambrosiana. This exhibition explores some of the artist’s different drawing techniques as well as architectural and scientific studies. ‘Leonardo in Milano’ is a virtual walking tour being held as part of the year-long celebration, taking visitors to significant spots in the city associated with da Vinci.
The Last Supper can also be seen in Milan, in the dining room of the former convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie. Naturally, tickets for this get booked out months and months in advance, and given the fragile nature of the painting, entry is restricted to a group of 25 people every 15 minutes.
The Leonardo Museum, Vinci, Italy
Found in the polymath’s hometown of Vinci in Florence, The Leonardo Museum is home to the largest collection of da Vinci models, reconstructed from his prolific drawings. This museum is a must-visit for anyone who’s particularly interested in his scientific and technical works.
Royal Museums of Turin, Italy
The ‘Leonardo da Vinci: Drawing the Future’ exhibition will be on until 14 July 2019 at the Royal Museums of Turin. It will show over 50 of da Vinci’s drawings that span his research into the intersection of science and art.
Accademia Gallery, Venice, Italy
Da Vinci’s most famous drawing, Vitruvian Man, will be on display at the Accademia Gallery in Venice until 14 July 2019. This is significant as the work is rarely displayed to the public. 24 additional drawings will also be part of the special exhibition.
The Louvre, Paris, France
Apart from, of course, being able to see the Mona Lisa there, the Louvre will be hosting a retrospective of da Vinci’s works from October 2019. The Parisian museum is already home to six of the artist’s paintings, and will be bringing in as many more as possible for the exhibition.
Royal Collection Trust, U.K
144 of da Vinci’s drawings from the Royal Collection will be on display simultaneously in 12 galleries across the U.K this year. The exhibition, called ‘Leonardo da Vinci: A life in Drawing’, will feature 12 drawings at each venue. Additionally, 200 drawings will go on display in May at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace in London, before moving to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh in November.