Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

Into the mind of the master

144 drawings. 12 nationwide exhibitions. One peerless artist. This landmark Renaissance retrospective is the culmination of a series of UK-wide exhibitions to mark 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci’s death. Now, in a grand finale, all of the pieces are being displayed together at Buckingham Palace. From maps and anatomical studies to a menagerie of animals, the extraordinary breadth of this creative force must be seen to be believed.

A dozen regional galleries and museums across the UK have each presented a selection of da Vinci’s works. The pieces, on loan from the Royal Collection, have included intricate mechanical diagrams shown in Bristol and cartography exhibited at Liverpool’s Walker Art Gallery. Going beyond the page to paint a picture of the artist’s technical brilliance, the curators have used ultraviolet imagery and X-ray fluorescence to delve – literally – into his creative processes and working methods.

Originally bound in a single album most likely acquired by Charles II in the 17th century, this remarkable anthology of artworks has been kept together since da Vinci’s death. The final showing at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, brings the whole collection together once more to chronicle da Vinci’s unbridled curiosity and boundless creativity.

Few of his surviving drawings were intended for others to see: drawing served as his laboratory, allowing him to work out his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed underpinned all of creation.

The Royal Collection Trust

Find out more


24 May - 13 October 2019


The Queen's Gallery
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace Rd