Nottingham Castle to exhibit da Vinci artwork

Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015 in print and online.
Royal Collection Trust / © Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2015 in print and online.

Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery has been chosen as one of four national locations to host a touring exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci’s work.

Ten of the finest drawings by da Vinci in the Royal Collection will be on display at the Castle from July 30 to October 9, 2016.

The Royal Collection is one of the largest and most important art collections in the world – spread among 13 royal residences and former residences across the UK, most of which are regularly open to the public.

Nearly 600 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci are in the Royal Collection, all of which were originally bound into an album which was thought to have been acquired by Charles II in the 17th century.

While only 20 of his paintings have survived, these drawings offer a fascinating insight into the life of this extraordinary artist.

Councillor Dave Trimble, Portfolio Holder for Leisure and Culture at Nottingham City Council, is proud that the city has been chosen to host the “remarkable” exhibition.

Nottingham Castle

He added: “The exhibition will be the catalyst for an exciting programme of related events and activities in Nottingham and, as Nottingham Castle embarks on the planning of a major re-development, it also signals our continuing ambition to bring art of world-class significance to the city.”

Through his drawings, Leonardo da Vinci tried to record and understand more about the world around him.

The ten selected drawings reveal his array of interests, ranging from painting, engineering, map making to botany and zoology.

Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, said: “Leonardo’s drawings are the richest, most wide-ranging, most technically brilliant, and most endlessly fascinating of any artist.”


Drawings exhibited include one of a male nude, with da Vinci studying the male anatomy to understand the form of muscles.

Another shows illustrations of cats, lions and dragons.

Leonardo was fascinated by the movement of animals and this busy piece shows cats sleeping and grooming, lions stalking prey and fantastical forms of dragons.

Jonathan Marsden, Director at the Royal Collection Trust, said: “The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection are among the greatest artistic treasures of this country.

“Through this touring exhibition, we aim to bring these extraordinary works of art within easy reach of people across Great Britain and Ireland.”

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