Thursday, 14 March 2019

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

There are three interesting exhibitions on at Southampton City Art Gallery at the moment. The first is a display of twelve drawings by Leonardo da Vinci from the Royal Collection, part of the UK-wide initiative to mark the 500th anniversary of his death. Southampton is one of twelve galleries and museums exhibiting works from the collection.

It's always good to see drawings, no matter what they're of - and da Vinci certainly provides variety. Portraits, anatomical studies, animals, children, plants, mechanical engineering and civil engineering - it's all there, with copious notes in some cases, showing the quickness and curiosity of the man. He was into EVERYTHING. 

This wasn't in the exhibiton - can't find one that was.

That's one of the most interesting things about him, along with his amazing draughtmanship. What I like best about him though is that he rarely finished anything. He left a myriad of projects uncompleted and must have been the most frustrating person to work with. I can just imagine the officials' reactions at the local council when they saw him coming with his plans for a canal system: 'here comes that crazy old man again!' But still, crazy or not, he and his work have endured the centuries and his genius is still esteemed today. Thank goodness these lovely works have been taken out of their dark drawers for the nation to see, albeit temporarily. Which reminds me that I was surprised to learn that the drawings have been in the hands of the British royal family since around 1690so he's always been held in high regard it seems.

The exhibition continues at Southampton City Art Gallery until 6 May.

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