500 years ago, on 2nd May 1519, the scientific dexterity Leonardo da Vinci died in the Loire Valley, France. To mark the 500th anniversary of his death there are major exhibitions dedicated to his works and genius.
Leonardo da Vinci was born 15th April 1452 in Vinci, a Tuscan town. He was the illegitimate son of Piero da Vinci, a prominent notary, and Caterina Lippi, an unmarried local peasant. It was quite fortunate that Leonardo was illegitimate, as males would often follow in their father’s footsteps, but Leonardo was able to ensue his interest of art. He lived with his paternal grandfather in Vinci, whilst his father worked in Florence.
At the age of 14, a young Leonardo began an apprenticeship to Andrea del Verrocchio, an influential sculptor and painter of the day. Around 1483, he moved to Milan to work for the Sforza family as an engineer, sculptor, painter and architect. It was during this time, between 1495 to 1497 that Leonardo produced one of his most famous murals, ‘The Last Supper’.
Around 1499, when the French invaded Milan, Leonardo moved back to Florence after the Sforza family were forced to flee. During his time in Florence, Leonardo painted his famous ‘Mona Lisa’. Da Vinci would return to Milan in 1506 for 7 years. During this time he produced a body of work ranging from human anatomy, botany, weaponry and studies of birds in flight.
To mark the 500th Anniversary of Leonardo’s death, exhibitions are being opened all over Italy and Europe.
- ‘La scienza prima della scienza’(the science before science): More than 200 pieces will be on display, with sections of the exhibition exploring the technological and scientific work of da Vinci.
Where: Scuderie del Quirinale Palace, Via XXIV Maggio 16 – 00187 Roma
When: 13th March – 30th July
- ‘Verrocchio, il Maestro di Leonardo’ (Verrocchio, the Master of Leonardo): Marking this celebration from a different angle, Palazzo Strozzi have a exhibition of Andrea del Verrocchio, who was the master of Leonardo da Vinci. As an apprentice to Andrea, Leonardo would have been painted aspects of the work that was to start his artistic career.
When: 8th March – 14th June
Where: Palazzo Strozzi, Florence
- ‘I segreti del Codice Atlantico’ (The secret of Codex Atlanticus): The largest collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s writings and drawings, including experimental designs, war machines and engineering studies.
When: until 12 January 2020
Where: Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan
- ‘Leonardo da Vinci. L’uomo e’ il Modello del Mondo’ (The Model Man of the World): an exhibition to mark the 500th anniversary Year, Academia Gallery in Venice will display works by Leonardo. The exhibition will show his studies of the human body, physic, mechanic and the preparatory phases of some of his paintings.
When: 19 April – 14 July 2019
Where: Accademia Galleries, Venice
- ‘Leonard de Vinci’: The Louvre has an impressive collection of paintings by Leonardo da Vinci and the museum has brought together works from other museums, creating the largest ever exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci.
When: 24 October – 24 February 2019
Where: Louvre, Paris
- ‘La Mort de Leonard de Vinci: La construction d’un mythe’ (the death of Leonardo da Vinci: the construction of a myth): Located in the castle where Leonardo spent his last days, this exhibition shows the end of the life of Leonardo and his friendship with the king of France.
When: 2 May – 31 August 2019
Where: Chateau Royal d’Amboise, Amboise
- ‘A life in drawing’: the drawings in the Royal Collection in Buckingham Palace have been together since Leonardo’s death, the provide an amazing insight into his work and his interests.
When: 24th May – 13th October 2019 (in November the exhibition will move to Palace of Holyroodhouse)
Where: Buckingham Palace
Leonardo has left an amazing legacy, intriguing old and young alike. His talent and understanding set him aside from his contemporaries, an individual who was able to embrace painting, science, biology, engineering, anatomy and architecture.
He gifted the world an body of work, that illustrates an unbelievable mind. It is sometimes difficult to believe he lived 500 years ago.
A lot of Leonardo’s work was not published until after his death, now we are able to see his true genius as not only a painter, but as an engineer and a scientist. He studied many subjects, often flitting from one to another on the same page and writing in left-handed mirror script. He was also able to write with both hands at the same time! He ‘invented’ the bicycle, aeroplane, helicopter and parachute.
The World’s Most Expensive Painting
In 2017, a portrait of Jesus Christ painted by Leonardo, entitled ‘Salvator Mundi’ was sold at Christie’s in New York. It is the most expensive painting in the world, sold for an amazing $450,312,500 USD. It was later discovered that the anonymous bidder was the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman. The Abu Dhabi culture department made a public statement stating that it had acquired the painting to be displayed in the Louvre Museum in Abu Dhabi. It has yet to be displayed and the Louvre (Abu Dhabi) have stated that the current whereabouts are unknown.