500 years since the death of the Renaissance Master is being marked with commemorative exhibitions throughout the art world
This year the art world commemorates one of its greatest Masters, the Renaissance genius, Leonardo da Vinci, who died 500 years ago in May 1519. Whilst myriad plans are afoot in Da Vinci’s native Italy, here in Britain a series of exhibitions featuring rarely displayed works are marking the half-millennia since Leonardo’s death and giving a unique insight into the mind of the legendary artist, scientist and engineer.
Da Vinci’s notebooks and drawings reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of their time. His pupil Francesco Melzi inherited these notebooks after Da Vinci’s death and arranged the drawings by subject matter. Part of the collection found its way to England in the early 1600s and by the end of the century had been acquired by Charles II. The collection of more than 550 drawings is still held by the British Royal family in what is considered by many to be the finest collection of Da Vinci’s drawings anywhere in the world.
Between February and April this year a selection of 144 drawings from the Royal Collection were displayed simultaneously in 12 exhibitions in cities across the UK, in cities including Glasgow, Cardiff, Leeds, Birmingham and Southampton. From May 24 over 200 drawings were put on display at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and in November, 80 drawings will be shown at the Queen’s Gallery at the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Scotland.
To mark this milestone anniversary since Da Vinci’s death, British lifestyle brand, Signare, has created a unique range of home and fashion accessories featuring two of his most iconic Masterpieces. Mona Lisa and Lady with Ermine are celebrated in the range alongside an original Leonardo Stamp Design, made up of postage stamps featuring some of the Old Master’s most famous paintings and drawings.
Included in the home collection are chair, couch and sofa cushions, cushion covers and other soft furnishings, all created from the beautifully durable signature tapestry fabrics for which Signare is renowned. The fashion line includes travel hand luggage, an everyday shopping bag, fashion handbags, a handy cosmetic bag and glasses cases, in the same eye-catching fabric designs.
These unique collections are sure to be a hit with art lovers as Da Vinci fever takes hold throughout the summer and into Autumn, when The Louvre in Paris aims to gather the greatest number of his works ever displayed in a single exhibition. Full details have yet to be confirmed but the exhibition will run for four months from October 24 2019 – February 24 2020. Advance bookings will be essential.