These days, at the utterance of the name Leonardo, our minds tend to drift towards the hot Leo of our time, not philosopher, artist, inventor, engineer and all round historic icon, Da Vinci.
I won’t pretend to be super knowledgeable about Da Vinci, or history but even anyone with the most limited of knowledge must recognise the name, synonymous with the image it conjures up of The Mona Lisa or The Last Supper. To visit Da Vincis most famous work, you’d have to visit Paris, but this year the UK are marking 500 years since Da Vincis passing, by distributing 144 of his original pieces of work over 12 galleries. One of the selected galleries is on my doorstep so I HAD TO VISIT. If you’d like to visit too, there’s exhibitions in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Derby, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland.
This depiction of the Mona Lisa, which stands proudly, always in Liverpools Walker Art Gallery, was once believed to be the original. When the original was stolen from Italy in the early 1900s, a Liverpool business man snapped this up and donated it to the Walker Art Gallery. Though it was confused for the original by many people many times, can we ever truly know what happened to the original Mona Lisa without her creator here to identify his work?
Though we can speculate on that, one thing is for certain, these pieces are 100% authentic. I’d give in to the tiny niggly cultural nerd inside and go to view the Leonardo 500 Exhibition. “12 drawings selected to reflect the full range of Leonardo’s interests – painting, sculpture, architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany”. Honestly, I had goosebumps and tears pricking my eyes, to see so much of the work that has without doubt contributed to modern living – Leonardo designed a flying machine, akin to the aeroplanes we travel in today, that was over 500 years ago.
All the work is protected in glass frames for preservation, sadly it was difficult to take the pictures to justify the work, so go visit before they leave on 6th May.