2

LONDON.- Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition brings together more than 200 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection, forming the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in over 65 years. 

Drawing served as Leonardo's laboratory, allowing him to work out his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed underpinned all of creation. The drawings by Leonardo in the Royal Collection have been together as a group since the artist's death in 1519. Acquired during the reign of Charles II, they provide an unparalleled insight into the workings of Leonardo's mind and reflect the full range of his interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.  

Revered in his day as a painter, Leonardo completed only around 20 paintings; he was respected as a sculptor and architect, but no sculpture or buildings by him survive; he was a military and civil engineer who plotted with Machiavelli to divert the river Arno, but the scheme was never executed; he was an anatomist and dissected 30 human corpses, but his ground-breaking anatomical work was never published; he planned treatises on painting, water, mechanics, the growth of plants and many other subjects, but none was ever finished. As so much of his life's work was unrealised or destroyed, Leonardo's greatest achievements survive only in his drawings and manuscripts. 

The drawings in the Royal Collection have been together as a group since the artist's death, and provide an unparalleled insight into Leonardo's investigations and the workings of his mind. Leonardo firmly believed that visual evidence was more persuasive than academic argument, and that an image conveyed knowledge more accurately and concisely than any words. Few of his surviving drawings were intended for others to see: drawing served as his laboratory, allowing him to work out his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed underpinned all of creation. 

The exhibitions Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint. 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 findings will be brought together in a groundbreaking new book, Leonardo da Vinci: A Closer Look, published by Royal Collection Trust in February 2019.

Leonardo used ink made from oak galls and iron salts, which is transparent in infrared light, allowing his black chalk underdrawing to be seen for the first time. Examination of A Deluge, c.1517–18 revealed that beneath the pattern-like arrangement of rain and waves in brown ink, Leonardo drew a swirling knot of energy in black chalk at the heart of the composition. Similarly, in Studies of water, c.1510–12 he built up the image in stages, first creating an underlying structure of water currents in chalk and then adding little rosettes of bubbles on the surface in ink, almost as decoration.  

All the drawings by Leonardo in the Royal Collection were bound into a single album by the sculptor Pompeo Leoni in Milan around 1590 and entered the Collection during the reign of Charles II. What appear to be two completely blank sheets of paper from this album will be on public display for the first time at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace. Examination in ultraviolet light has revealed these sheets to be Studies of hands for the Adoration of the Magi, c.1481 and among Leonardo's most beautiful drawings. 

3

Associated with Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The Leoni bindingc.1580-1600. Leather with gold tooling, 47.0 x 33.0 x 6.5 cm (album), RCIN 933320. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

Leonardo executed the studies of hands in metalpoint, which involves drawing with a metal stylus on prepared paper. One of the sheets was examined at the UK's national synchrotron, the Diamond Light Source at Harwell, Oxfordshire, using high-energy X-ray fluorescence to map the distribution of chemical elements on the paper. It was discovered that the drawings had become invisible to the naked eye because of the high copper content in the stylus that Leonardo used – the metallic copper had reacted over time to a become a transparent copper salt. By contrast, A design for an equestrian monument, c.1485–8, which is drawn with a silver stylus, is still fully visible. 

Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust, said, ‘The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci are a national treasure, both incredibly beautiful and the main source of our knowledge of the artist. We hope that as many people as possible across the UK will take this unique opportunity to see these extraordinary works, which allow us to enter one of the greatest minds in history, and to understand the man and his achievements.'

LEONARDO IN FLORENCE, TO 1481

Leonardo was born in 1452 near the town of Vinci, 15 miles (25 km) west of Florence in central Italy. He was the illegitimate son of a lawyer and a peasant girl, and was raised in his paternal grandfather’s house in Vinci.

By the age of 20 Leonardo was established as a painter in Florence. The 1470s was a period of great experimentation in Florentine art, and a generation of young artists, including Leonardo, used drawing as never before – to devise novel compositions, study figures and faces from the life, and explore the world around them.

Leonardo’s earliest paintings were relatively conventional, but around 1480 he began work on an ambitious painting of the Adoration of the Magi, teeming with figures and animals (reproduced on the wall above). This remained unfinished when Leonardo left Florence for Milan, probably in late 1481.

5

? Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A lily (Lilium candidum), c.1475. Pen and ink and ochre wash with white heightening over black chalk, the outlines pricked, 31.4 x 17.7 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912418. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

6

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The Madonna and Child with the infant Baptist, and heads in profile, c.1478. Pen and ink, 40.5 x 29.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912276. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

7

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: Sketches of dragons. Verso: A design for a decorated cuirassc.1478-80. Recto: Stylus, black chalk, pen and ink. Verso: Black chalk, partly gone over with pen and ink, 16.2 x 24.6 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912370. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

8

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A horse in profile divided by lines, c.1480. Pen and ink over black chalk, 29.8 x 29.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912318. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

9

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A rearing horse, and a horse's hind leg, c.1480. Metalpoint on untinted prepared paper, 11.2 x 19.6 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912315. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

MILAN, 1483-1499. 

Leonardo had moved to Milan in north-west Italy by April 1483, when he received the commission for an altarpiece now known as the Virgin of the Rocks. Later that decade he entered the service of Ludovico Sforza, ruler of the city – initially to work on an equestrian monument, and later painting portraits, designing entertainments, and executing his greatest finished painting, the Last Supper.

At the heart of one of the most important courts in Italy, Leonardo would have encountered a wide range of people. His own interests broadened rapidly: he developed a reputation as an architect and engineer, and he began to consider the theoretical principles of painting, aiming to write a treatise on the subject. This soon led to the study of human proportion and anatomy, which in time was to become Leonardo’s greatest scientific pursuit.

10

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A portrait of a man in profilec.1480-85. Metalpoint on pale buff prepared paper, 12.7 x 10.6 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912498. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

11

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Portrait of a young woman in profilec.1490. Metalpoint on pale buff prepared paper, 32.0 x 20.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912505. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

12

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A study of a woman's handsc.1490. Metalpoint with white heightening over charcoal on pale buff prepared paper, 21.5 x 15.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912558. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

13

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The drapery of a kneeling figure, c.1491-4. Brush and black ink with white heightening, over some stylus, on pale blue prepared paper, 21.3 x 15.9 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912521. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

ENGINEERING AND WEAPONRY

Milan was a centre for the manufacture of arms and armour, and soon after Leonardo’s arrival in the city he began to sketch designs for weapons. The recent introduction to Europe of gunpowder was rapidly changing the nature of warfare, and Leonardo’s designs show both the old type of weapon, such as lances and chariots, and the new – guns, cannon and mortars.

It is unlikely that any of these designs was realised, or even intended for manufacture, and they may have been intended instead for an illustrated treatise on warfare.

14

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Designs for chariots and other weaponsc.1485. Pen and ink with wash, 20.0 x 27.8 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912653. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

15

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: Studies of gun-barrels and mortars. Verso: A town wall being blown upc.1485-90. Recto: Pen and ink. Verso: Pen and ink over metalpoint on pale blue prepared paper, 28.2 x 20.5 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912652.Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

16

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: Studies of ships, and toothed wheels, with notes. Verso: A design for a paddle-boat, and the head of an old man in profilec.1485-90.Pen and ink, 14.2 x 21.4 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912650. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

17

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A scene in an arsenalc.1485-90. Pen and ink over traces of black chalk, 25.0 x 18.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912647. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

EARLY SCIENTIFIC STUDIES

During the 1480s Leonardo began to study proportion and geometry, the theory of light and the principles of anatomy.  He believed increasingly in the scientific basis of painting – that a painting should strive to be an objective rendering of the observable universe – and he developed a plan to compile a treatise on the theory of painting.

As the human body was the principal subject matter of the Renaissance artist, Leonardo wished to find the link between an individual’s emotions, expression and pose, so that he could paint a figure more convincingly. Many of his early anatomical studies attempt therefore to understand the structure of the brain and nerves. But with the notable exception of a skull he had very little access to human material at this time, and was unable to get very far with this study. Leonardo’s anatomical studies lapsed for the next fifteen years.

18

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A study of the fall of light on a facec.1488. Pen and ink over black chalk, 20.3 x 14.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912604. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

19

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The proportions of the head, and a standing nudec.1490. Metalpoint and pen and ink on blue-grey prepared paper, 21.3 x 15.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912601. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

20

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: The cranium sectioned. Verso: The skull sectioned1489. Recto: Pen and ink. Verso: Pen and ink over traces of black chalk, 19.0 x 13.7 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 919058. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

21

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A bear's footc.1488-90. Metalpoint with pen and ink and white heightening, on blue-grey prepared paper, 16.1 x 13.7 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912372. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

THE SFORZA MONUMENT

In the mid-1480s Ludovico Sforza, ruler of Milan, commissioned Leonardo to make a huge bronze equestrian monument to his father Francesco. The first designs show the horse rearing, but around 1490 this was changed to a less ambitious walking pose. Leonardo then studied the form of the horse intensively, making drawings both in casual poses and in strict orthogonal views, from the side and from the front.

Leonardo built a clay model of the horse, well over life size, and constructed a mould and foundry for the casting. But in 1494 the 75 tons of bronze assembled to make the cast was requisitioned to make cannon, and the project was suspended.

Five years later French forces took Milan and deposed Ludovico Sforza. Leonardo’s clay model for the horse was used for target practice by the French troops and destroyed. Leonardo recorded laconically in his notebook, ‘the Duke lost his state, his property and his liberty, and none of his works was finished.’

22

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A study for an equestrian monumentc.1485-90. Metalpoint on pale blue prepared paper, 11.7 x 10.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912357. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

23

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: A study for an equestrian monument. Verso: Studies of flowing water, a cross-bow, geometry, etc., c.1485-90. Recto: Metalpoint on blue prepared paper. Verso: Pen and ink, 15.2 x 18.8 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912358. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

THE RETURN TO FLORENCE 1500-1506

After the fall of Ludovico Sforza, his patron in Milan, Leonardo returned to Florence, the city of his youth. He tried to reestablish himself as a painter, but was reported to be preoccupied with geometry and ‘very impatient with the brush’, and in 1502 he left to work for the commander of the papal army.

Within a year Leonardo was back in Florence, where he was commissioned to paint a huge mural, the Battle of Anghiari, in the Palazzo della Signoria. He worked on that painting for the next three years, while also making maps for the Florentine government and beginning the Mona Lisa and a painting of Leda and the Swan. In 1506 the French occupiers of Milan requested that Leonardo return to Milan, and for the next two years he travelled repeatedly between Milan and Florence.

24

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The bust of the Madonnac.1500. Red chalk over metalpoint on pale red prepared paper, 22.1 x 15.9 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912514. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

25

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Mortars bombarding a fortressc.1503-4. Pen and ink with brown wash over a little black chalk, 32.9 x 48.0 cm (sheet of paper),RCIN 912275. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

26

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Studies for the head of Ledac.1505-6. Pen and ink over black chalk, 20.0 x 16.2 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912516. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

MAPMAKER AND ENGINEER

In August 1502, the fifty-year-old Leonardo was appointed military architect and engineer to Cesare Borgia, son of Pope Alexander VI  and Marshal of the Papal Troops. Over the next few months Leonardo surveyed Borgia’s strongholds to the north and east of Florence, and created his most impressive surviving map, of the town of Imola.

On his return to Florence in 1503 Leonardo continued to make maps. Some were presumably commissioned by the Florentine government, such as surveys of the Valdichiana in southern Tuscany, and of the river Arno near Florence. Others were for Leonardo’s own pet projects, notably his idea of constructing a canal to bypass the Arno, or simply expressions of his interest in the formation of rivers and the weathering of mountains.

27

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A plan of Imola1502. Pen and ink, with coloured washes, and stylus lines, over black chalk, 44.0 x 60.2 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912284. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

28

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A bird's-eye view of the Valdichiana, c.1503-4. Charcoal (?), pen and ink, and wash,20.9 x 28.1 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912682. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

THE BATTLE OF ANGHIARI

29

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 horsec.1503-4. Recto: Pen and ink with wash, and red chalk. Verso: Pen and ink with traces of black chalk, 19.6 x 30.8 cm (sheet of paper) RCIN 912326. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

30

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The muscles of the shoulder, torso and legc.1504-6. Pen and ink, and red chalk, 16.1 x 15.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912640. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

31

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A nude man from the waist downc.1504-6. Black chalk, 22.4 x 14.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912630. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

THE RETURN TO ANATOMY, C.1506-10

In the aftermath of his work on the Battle of Anghiari, Leonardo returned to the study of anatomy, which had first interested him around 1490. He now had access to human corpses for dissection, suggesting that he now had some reputation as an anatomist, or at least that he was on good terms with physicians who facilitated his work.

In the winter of 1507-8 Leonardo performed a post-mortem on an old man in the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova in Florence. Leonardo recorded his findings from the dissection in the notebook that he had used almost 20 years earlier for his skull studies.

32

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: The gastrointestinal tract, and the bladder. Verso: The gastrointestinal tract, c.1508. Recto: Pen and ink over traces of black chalk. Verso: Pen and ink over black chalk, 19.2 x 13.8 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 919031. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

33

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: The uterus of a gravid cow. Verso: The anatomy of the mouthc.1508. Pen and ink over traces of black chalk, 19.2 x 14.2 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 919055. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

34

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman, c.1509-10. Black and red chalk, ink, yellow wash, finely pricked through, 47.6 x 33.2 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912281. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

MILAN, 1506-13, AND ROME, 1513-16

Leonardo was called back to Milan in 1506 by the French occupiers of the city, and he served them in a variety of capacities for most of the next seven years. While he did turn his hand to some paintings – most notably the St Anne, possibly for the King of France – he was working more as a designer and scientist.

Leonardo’s intended treatise on painting, begun 20 years earlier, had spawned several distinct strands of investigation – anatomy, optics, water, atmospheric phenomena, the figure in motion and so on, and during his second Milanese period he worked intensively on these fields – none more so than anatomy, the field in which he made his greatest advances.

But once again military strife disrupted Leonardo’s work. The French were ousted from Milan, and in 1513 Leonardo abandoned Lombardy for Rome, under the patronage of Giuliano de’ Medici, brother of Pope Leo X.

After an unproductive couple of years, in late 1516 Leonardo accepted an offer of employment by the French king.

35

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Three emblemsc.1506-10. Pen and ink with some wash, and blue bodycolour over black chalk, 26.9 x 19.5 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912701. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

36

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A political allegoryc.1495. Red chalk, 17.0 x 28.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912496.Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

37

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: Designs for a fortress-type palazzo, and for a figure of Neptune. Verso: Notes on Cyprus and the legend of the Sirensc.1508. Recto: Pen and ink and black chalk. Verso: Pen and ink, 27.0 x 20.1 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912591. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

38

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A bell-ringing devicec.1508. Pen and ink 10.3 x 6.6 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912716. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

40

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A design for a 'Heron's Fountain'c.1511-13. Pen and ink over red chalk, on blue paper, 15.0 x 6.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912690Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

39

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A design for a 'Heron's Fountain'c.1511-13. Pen and ink over red chalk, on blue paper, 17.2 x 6.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912691Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

LATE ANATOMY

On moving to Rome in 1513, Leonardo tried to resume his anatomical studies, but he was slandered by a troublesome acquaintance and prohibited from conducting further dissections. Though the existence of his anatomical studies was frequently mentioned by his early biographers, they were not properly understood until they were finally published in the years around 1900. The work of one of the greatest anatomists of the Renaissance thus had no discernible impact on the discipline.

41

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The brain, c.1508-. Pen and ink over black chalk | 20.0 x 26.2 cm (sheet of paper) | RCIN 919127Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

42

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The bones and muscles of a bird's wingc.1512-13. Pen and ink over black chalk, 22.2 x 20.4 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912656Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

HEART STUDIES

Leonardo’s last known anatomical campaign, an analysis of the heart, was perhaps the most brilliant of his many scientific investigations. After 1511 he had little or no access to human material, and his dissections were therefore of an ox’s heart. Leonardo analysed the structure of the heart, the arrangement of the vessels and the action of the valves. But he had no knowledge of circulation of the blood, and there is a mounting dissatisfaction in his notes as he tried to reconcile his understanding with ancient beliefs about the physiology of the heart.

43

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: The heart, bronchi and bronchial vessels. Verso: A sketch of the heart and great vesselsc.1511-13. Recto: Pen and ink on blue paper. Verso: Black chalk on blue paper , 28.8 x 20.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 919071.  Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

WATER

The movement of water haunts Leonardo’s work in many fields. In his landscapes it is a symbol of natural processes over unconscionable timespans; in his civil engineering it is a powerful but tractable adversary; and in his scientific studies it is a pure element, responding perfectly to external forces in a way that could be observed and analysed.

In these four sheets he studies the fall of water into a pool and the flow of water past an obstacle. The drawings exemplify Leonardo’s uncanny ability to fix a momentary impression in his mind and capture it on paper with absolute conviction, as if the endlessly changing scene had been frozen before him.

44

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Studies of flowing water etc., with notesc.1510-13. Red chalk and pen and ink, 20.5 x 20.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912661Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

45

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Recto: A seated old man, and studies and notes on the movement of water. Verso: Architectural studies, c.1510. Recto: Pen and ink. Verso: Red chalk, 15.4 x 21.7 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912579Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

FRANCE 1516-1519

After finally leaving Milan in 1513, Leonardo spent three years in Rome, under the patronage of Giuliano de’ Medici, brother of Pope Leo X. Leonardo achieved little of note in these years, and in late 1516, aged 64, he accepted an offer of employment at the court of the king of France, the young Francis I.

Leonardo settled at Amboise in the Loire valley, where he held a privileged position as painter, engineer and architect to the king. While he and his assistants were still painting the St Anne and Mona Lisa, Leonardo was mainly a designer – of architecture and civil engineering, costumes and festivals, and another equestrian monument – and generally an adornment to the court.

In his last years Leonardo purged his drawings of much of their former colour, eliminating red chalk and restricting his materials to black chalk, pen and ink, and wash, even in a few drawings working in black chalk on a dark grey ground.

46

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The Chateau of Amboisec.1517-18. Red chalk, 13.3 x 26.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912727Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

47

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A woman in a landscapec.1517-18. Black chalk, 21.0 x 13.5 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912581Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

COSTUME STUDIES

The young King Francis held several lavish entertainments while Leonardo was working as his court artist. Contemporary letters give detailed descriptions of the costumes worn at these events, which correspond in their general effect and in many details to Leonardo’s drawings, suggesting that he was providing designs for the king’s seamstresses.

Leonardo clearly relished the opportunity to indulge his love of decorative elegance. He was aiming at a great richness and layering of textiles, with ribbons, scalloping, plumes, fringes, spotted furs, and quilted sleeves and breeches. Such clothing was associated with mercenary soldiers, fools, minstrels and prostitutes: the guests of Francis I were dressing up not just exotically, but in something risqué

48

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A standing masqueraderc.1517-18. Black chalk, pen and ink and wash, 27.3 x 18.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912575Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

49

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A masquerader on horsebackc.1517-18. Pen and ink over black chalk, 24.0 x 15.2 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912574Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

50

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A standing masqueraderc.1517-18. Black chalk, 21.4 x 10.7 cm (sheet of paper)RCIN 912577Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

51

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A standing masqueraderc.1517-18. Black chalk, 21.5 x 11.2 cm (sheet of paper)RCIN 912576Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

52

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The bust of a masquerader in profilec.1517-18. Black chalk rubbed with red chalk17.0 x 14.6 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912508Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

53

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A design for a costume of an imaginary beastc.1517-18. Black chalk and pen and ink18.8 x 27.1 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912369. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

A LATE EQUESTRIAN MONUMENT

Late in life Leonardo planned a third equestrian monument, following on from the abandoned Sforza monument and the unexecuted Trivulzio monument. It is inherently likely that Francis I was the intended subject, shown variously as a triumphant military commander or a Roman emperor. As before, Leonardo began by considering a rearing horse, but his most carefully worked studies show the horse pacing, and he made a number of detailed studies of heavily-muscled horses in that pose.

But Leonardo seems not to have attempted large-scale or physically demanding work in his last years, and he did not put his mind to the practicalities of modelling or casting the sculpture.

54

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), Studies for an equestrian monumentc.1517-18. Pen and ink over black chalk22.4 x 16.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912360. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

55

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A study for an equestrian monumentc.1517-18. Black chalk on paper washed buff20.3 x 12.3 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912354. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

DELUGES

During the last years of his life Leonardo repeatedly drew a cataclysmic storm overwhelming a landscape. He also wrote several long passages that recount the futile struggles of man against the overwhelming forces of nature – tempests, floods, a mountain collapsing on a city, and finally the storm sweeping away all matter. This obsession with death and destruction can be seen as the deeply personal expression of an artist nearing his end – an artist who had seen some of his greatest creations unfinished or destroyed before his eyes, and who had a profound sense of the impermanence of all things, even of the earth itself.

Far from being chaotic, these deluges were drawn with the eye of a scientist, showing a fascination with the optical qualities of cloud, rain, water, debris, dust and smoke. They are thus of a piece with Leonardo’s notes throughout his life towards his treatise on painting, with every effect now amplified and thrown together.

56

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A tempestc.1517-18. Black chalk, pen and ink and wash with touches of white heightening27.0 x 40.8 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912376. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

57

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), A delugec.1517-18. Black chalk, 16.1 x 20.7 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912376. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

58

Leonardo da Vinci (Vinci 1452-Amboise 1519), The head of an old bearded man in profilec.1517-18. Black chalk, 25.3 x 18.2 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912500. Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

LEONARDO'S DEATH

Leonardo died at Amboise in France on 2 May 1519, aged 67. He was careful to leave his drawings – perhaps 2000 or more loose sheets, and dozens of notebooks – to his pupil Francesco Melzi.

Most of these drawings have survived to the present day, but they were widely published and understood only from the late nineteenth century. We now have a greater understanding of Leonardo’s life, work and thought than at any time since his death, and – primarily through his drawings – an insight into one of the greatest minds of the Renaissance.

4

Attributed to Francesco Melzi (1493-1570), Leonardo da Vinci, c. 1515-18. Red chalk, 27.5 x 19.0 cm (sheet of paper), RCIN 912726Photo: Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.