Leonardo da Vinci in Sunderland

'Leonardo da Vinci: A life in drawing' with Martin Clayton from the Royal Collection Trust

Wednesday 27 February, 6.30pm - Murray Library Lecture Theatre, City Campus.

Tickets are free but must be booked in advance via EventBrite

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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. The exhibition will be on display at the Museum from Friday 1 February – Monday 6 May 2019.

On Wednesday 27 February University of Sunderland will host a talk with Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings from the Royal Collection Trust, followed by a Q&A with the audience.

Drawing was central to all Leonardo’s work as an artist and scientist. Many of his wide-ranging projects are known today only through his surviving drawings, allowing a unique and intimate insight into his mind. This talk will trace Leonardo’s career, and the development of his thought, through his beautiful drawings in the Royal Collection – focusing especially on the twelve exhibited in Sunderland.

This event is free and open to the public.

Tickets now on sale for Leonardo exhibition

Tickets are now on sale for what is one of the most eagerly-anticipated exhibitions ever to be held at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens – Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing.

The exhibition, featuring 12 drawings from the Italian master, is part of a national tour to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Sunderland is one of 12 UK venues chosen by Royal Collection Trust to simultaneously host the exhibition, which will feature a total of 144 of Leonardo’s drawings. The exhibition will run from February 1 to May 6.

Following the exhibitions at the 12 venues the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo's work in more than 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November, the largest group of Leonardo's works ever shown in Scotland.

Keith Merrin, Chief Executive of Sunderland Culture who deliver the programme at the museum on behalf of Sunderland City Council, said: “This is an exciting opportunity to see the extraordinary drawings of perhaps the world’s most famous artist. We’re delighted Sunderland will be hosting part of such a major exhibition and we’re sure it will prove popular throughout the region and beyond.

“The 12 drawings selected for Sunderland reflect a range of Leonardo's interests – architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany. They also include a range of examples of the drawing materials employed by Leonardo, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metal point.

“The exhibition also presents 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.”

A range of artistic projects and programmes, organised bySunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, will complement the exhibition.

Jo Cunningham, Exhibitions, Collections and Archive Manager at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, explained: “We’re using the drawings and the high-profile exhibition as a catalyst to inspire and educate through a programme of projects and activities for people of all ages.

“These include a variety of activities, assemblies and workshops for schools and a project with University of Sunderland students working at FabLab and responding to the question ‘if Leonardo was alive now, what would he create?’ “

There is also a family programme which includes a Leonardo-themed week during February half-term (February 18 – 22); Leonardo trails around the Museum and a takeover by the Dominic Wilcox Little Inventors project during the Easter holidays. There will also be monthly exhibition sessions for families with children who have additional learning needs or learning disabilities.

An adult learning programme will include: a free talk by Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at Royal Collection Trust on Wednesday, February 27 at University of Sunderland’s Murray Library Theatre (6.30pm – 8.30pm) and then a guided tour of the exhibition by Martin the following day (11am); a botanical illustration workshop at the Museum on Saturday, April 27 and life drawing classes exploring nude, drapery and theatrical costume on Sundays, March 3, 10, 17 and 24 (12.45 – 4.45pm).

Tickets for Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, costing £2.50, can be pre-booked online by visiting www.sunderlandmuseum.org.uk or at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens' reception during opening hours. Entry for under-16s is free, but they will need a ticket.

For information and updates on the supporting activities and events, log on to the museum’s website or check social media using the hashtags #SunderlandLeo and #Leonardo500.

Leonardo, who lived from 1452 to 1519, painted some of the most famous images in world art, with The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper among his most famous pieces.

Sunderland Culture

Sunderland Culture was set up in 2017 to bring together the cultural programmes of Sunderland City Council, University of Sunderland and Music, Arts and Culture (MAC) Trust into a single, independent, resilient delivery model and realise the ambition of a city brimming with creative potential. Sunderland Culture works in National Glass Centre and Northern Gallery for Contemporary Art, Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens, Arts Centre Washington, The Fire Station and delivers programmes of cultural engagement and events across the whole city. It works across the city to ensure the power of great art, culture and creativity is harnessed for the benefit of Sunderland, its residents and visitors. Sunderland Culture's mission is to improve life for everyone in Sunderland through culture. In spring 2017 Sunderland Culture was successful in its bid to be one of 16 pilot areas for the Great Place scheme, jointly funded over three years by Arts Council England (ACE) and Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) with funding made possible by National Lottery players, to put arts, culture and heritage at the heart of communities. On April 1, 2018, Sunderland Culture joined Arts Council England’s National Portfolio.

Royal Collection Trust, a department of the Royal Household, is responsible for the care of the Royal Collection and manages the public opening of the official residences of The Queen.  Income generated from admissions and from associated commercial activities contributes directly to The Royal Collection Trust, a registered charity. The aims of The Trust are the care and conservation of the Royal Collection, and the promotion of access and enjoyment through exhibitions, publications, loans and educational programmes. Royal Collection Trust’s work is undertaken without public funding of any kind.

The Royal Collection is among the largest and most important art collections in the world, and one of the last great European royal collections to remain intact.  It comprises almost all aspects of the fine and decorative arts, and is spread among some 15 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public.  The Royal Collection is held in trust by the Sovereign for her successors and the nation, and is not owned by The Queen as a private individual. 

The Royal Collection contains by far the greatest collection of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci. The group of more than 550 sheets has remained together since Leonardo’s death in 1519. Because of the potential for damage from exposure to light, these very delicate works on paper can never be on permanent display and are kept in carefully controlled conditions in the Print Room at Windsor Castle. All the drawings can be viewed online on the Royal Collection Trust website at www.rct.uk/collection

Exhibition dates:

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (1 February – 6 May 2019)

Exhibitions of 12 drawings at the following locations:

Ulster Museum, Belfast

Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery

Bristol Museum & Art Gallery

National Museum Cardiff

Derby Museum and Art Gallery

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum, Glasgow

Leeds Art Gallery

Walker Art Gallery, Liverpool

Manchester Art Gallery

Millennium Gallery, Sheffield

Southampton City Art Gallery

Sunderland Museums & Winter Gardens

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (24 May – 13 October 2019)

Exhibition of over 200 drawings

The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace, London

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing (22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020)

Exhibition of 80 drawings

The Queen's Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, Edinburgh

For more information please visit www.rct.uk/leonardo500

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