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To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens has been selected by Royal Collection Trust to be one of 12 UK venues to host simultaneous exhibitions of 12 Leonardo da Vinci drawings (01 Feb – 6 May 2019).

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing a nationwide event, will give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist. Twelve drawings, selected to reflect the full range of Leonardo’s interests painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany will be shown at venues in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland, with a further venue to be announced.

Councillor John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s Portfolio Holder for Public Health, Wellness and Culture said, “This partnership with Royal Collection Trust and the opportunity to host this iconic exhibition demonstrates our city’s deserved reputation as an emerging cultural hub.

“The exhibitions held at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens continue to be a huge attraction in our city centre and the welcome they receive from both residents and visitors give us ever more opportunities to host hugely important shows in the future.”

Previous exhibitions hosted at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens have included the Taylor Wessing Photographic Portrait Prize, the BP Portrait Award from the National Portrait Gallery, Grayson Perry: The Vanity of Small Differences from the Arts Council Collection, and the Victoria & Albert Museum’s War Games.

Councillor Kelly added; “The attraction of art should not be underestimated. These events make a huge contribution to the city, its reputation and its economy. In 2015 over 92,000 people visited the Canaletto masterpiece A Regatta on the Grand Canal on loan from the National Gallery in London and these visitors also spend time and money here giving increased opportunities to local businesses and accommodation providers. I urge everyone to make time to go along and visit what I’m sure will be a fantastic event.”

The exhibition at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens will include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point. It 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.

Following the exhibitions at Royal Collection Trust’s partner venues, in May 2019 the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition of over 200 sheets at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in over 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November 2019, the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever shown in Scotland.

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.’

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