Largest Leonardo da Vinci collection: A Life in Drawing at the Queen’s Gallery London

Queens Gallery

The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace is joining the National Gallery and the British Library as another venue in the long list of places around London that’s commemorating the 500th death anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci.

Called Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, it’ll feature more than 200 drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, the largest exhibition of the artist’s work in over 65 years.

It’s been open from 24 May and has been chosen from the Royal Collection, taking anyone who goes to visit through the full range of Leonardo’s interests in painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

Think of the exhibition as a comprehensive survey of Leonardo’s life and a unique insight into the workings of his mind.

Leonardo da Vinci Recto
Recto: Two drawings of the skull seen from the left, the one below squared for proportion; notes on the drawings. Verso: Drawing of the right side of a skull; drawing of the right side of a skull, showing relation between the orbit and maxillary antrum; notes on the drawings

Why was Leonardo da Vinci so influential?

Leonardo was revered in his day as a painter, but he completed only around 20 paintings. He was respected as a sculptor and architect, but no sculpture or buildings by him survive. He was a military and civil engineer who plotted with Machiavelli to divert the river Arno, but the scheme was never realised. As a scientist, he dissected 30 human corpses with the intention of compiling an illustrated treatise on anatomy, and planned other treatises on light, water, botany, mechanics and much else besides, but none of these was ever finished. As so much of Leonardo’s work was unrealised, many of his achievements survive only in his drawings and manuscripts. Few of Leonardo’s drawings were intended for others to see: drawing served as Leonardo’s laboratory, allowing him to work out his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed underpinned all of creation.

The exhibition is on until 13 October. Head to the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, London to see it for yourself.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing – nationwide from Royal Collection Trust on Vimeo.

Can you escape the Leonardo da Vinci Artmergency escape room?

Leonardo da Vinci art escape room

On top of the exhibition itself, the Queen’s Gallery is going to host, on a Friday and Saturday night until 5 October, an Artmergency, Leonardo da Vinci-themed escape room.

Every bit as fun as it sounds, you enter as a team and are given a certain period of time to think like a Renaissance genius to unlock the mysteries in Leonardo’s drawings.

Your team will need careful observation, creative thinking and detective work to beat the clock, but no prior art history knowledge is required. The Queen’s Gallery will be transformed into four rooms of thematic puzzles and riddles as you solve the mystery of the missing curator. 

See more about the Leonardo da Vinci escape room at the Queen’s Gallery here.