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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The head of St Anne, c.1510-15. Black chalk, wetted in places, RCIN 912533Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

DUBLIN.- President Michael D. Higgins will formally open the exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: Ten Drawings from the Royal Collection, in the National Gallery of Ireland on Wednesday 4 May 2016. 

The exhibition features ten of the finest surviving drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519), selected from the outstanding collection of his work in the Royal Collection. 

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A male nude, c.1504-5. Red chalk, RCIN 912596Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016.

The drawings show the variety of Leonardo’s drawing materials and the types of drawing that he made during his long career. All but one are private papers, never intended to be seen by anyone else. Many are annotated in his habitual ‘mirror’ writing including the sheet of Studies for casting an equestrian monument (c.1492-3), and the double-sided page from a notebook of anatomical studies: The heart compared to a seed and The vessels of the liver, spleen and kidneys (c.1508). They show Leonardo’s remarkable range of interests as an artist and scientist, and capture the essential curiosity of the archetypal ‘Renaissance man’.  

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Studies of an infant, c.1490. Metalpoint, partly gone over with pen and ink, on pale buff prepared paper, RCIN 912569Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Though he trained as a painter, Leonardo expanded his activities into sculpture and architecture, engineering, botany, geology, hydraulics, optics and anatomy. His principle tool of investigation was drawing. His skilful use of different media is highlighted in the exhibition in works such as A study for the head of St Anne (black chalk, wetted in places, c.1510-15); A male nude (red chalk, c.1504-5), and his Cats, lions and a dragon (pen and ink with wash over black chalk, c.1513-18).  

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Studies for casting an equestrian monument (recto); Further casting studies, and lines of poetry (verso), c.1492-3. Recto: Pen and ink with some notes in red chalk. Verso: Pen and ink. RCIN 912349. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

Sean Rainbird, Director, National Gallery of Ireland says: “This is a rare and wonderful opportunity for the Gallery to show these exquisite drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection. The exhibition will bring great pleasure to our audiences over the coming months. We are expecting large attendances and encourage visitors to pre-book their free ticket online, and to do so early in order to avoid disappointment.” 

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A plan of a weir and embankment on the Arno east of Florence, 1504. Pen and ink with brown and blue wash, over black chalk | RCIN 912680. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

The National Gallery in Dublin is the only Irish venue for this touring exhibition organised by Royal Collection Trust. 

Jonathan Marsden, Director, Royal Collection Trust says: “The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection are among the greatest treasures of this country. Through this touring exhibition, we aim to bring these extraordinary works of art within easy reach of people across Great Britain and Ireland.” 

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Expressions of fury in horses, a lion and a man; (Verso:) Notes and diagrams on astronomy and geometry, and the head of a horse, c.1503-4. Recto: Pen and ink with wash, and red chalk. Verso: Pen and ink with traces of black chalk | RCIN 912326. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

The exhibition in Dublin is proudly supported by Key Capital. Conor Killeen, CEO of Key Capital says: “We are delighted to be working with the National Gallery in bringing ten Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the Royal Collection to Ireland. This is an opportunity for many to see the breadth of Leonardo’s interests. Here is someone blessed with one of the most curious minds who become one of the inspirational talents in history.’’ 

An illustrated catalogue to the exhibition, by Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, is available from the Gallery Shop (€6.95).

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Blackberry and bird's-foot trefoil, c.1505-10. Recto: Red chalk on pale red prepared paper. Verso: Black chalk. RCIN 912420. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

 

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: The heart compared to a seed. Verso: The vessels of liver, spleen and kidneys, c.1508. Pen and ink over black chalk. RCIN 919028. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Cats, lions, and a dragon, c.1513-18. Pen and ink with wash over black chalk, RCIN 912363. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016

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Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A deluge, c.1517-18. Black chalk. RCIN 912377. Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2016