There are only days left for you to see ‘a special exhibition’ at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens.

Leonardo: A Life in Drawing, an exhibition of drawings marking the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death, and one of the museum’s most popular ever exhibitions, closes on Monday, May 6.

More than 23,000 visitors have so far seen the 14 drawings that make up the exhibition, part of a national tour of 12 UK venues chosen by the Royal Collection Trust.

Leonardo is considered one of the greatest artists of all time and his drawings, in which he explored fields as diverse as botany, anatomy, portraiture, design and the nature of the world around him, continue to fascinate. He drew constantly, often to test theories or record observations.

Leonardo was left-handed, and throughout his life he habitually wrote in perfect mirror image, from right to left, a practice visitors can see in several of the Leonardo drawings exhibited at the museum.

A series of drawings from respected British portrait artist Andrew Tift complement the Leonardo drawings. Tift, famous for his paintings of leading politicians, was commissioned to produce 15 drawings of pensioners living in three Washington care homes. The commission was funded by Washington Area Committee.

Jo Cunningham, Exhibitions, Collections and Archive Manager at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, said: “Leonardo: A Life in Drawing has been a special exhibition, one that has captured the imagination of the public and we’re delighted so many people have been to see these beautiful and historic drawings.

“We’ve had a superb selection of drawings from the Royal Collection Trust, displaying the range of Leonardo’s brilliant work and the feedback we’ve had has been amazing.

“We’re expecting our last few days to be very busy, so we’d advise visitors to book as soon as possible through our website.”

Following the exhibitions at the 12 venues the drawings will be brought together to form part of an exhibition at The Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace, the largest exhibition of Leonardo’s work in more than 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings will then travel to The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse in November, the largest group of Leonardo’s works ever shown in Scotland.

Tickets for Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, costing £2.50, can be pre-booked online by visiting or at Sunderland Museum & Winter Gardens’ reception during opening hours. Entry for under-16s is free, but they will need a ticket.

* One of the drawings on display at the museum, a sprig of guelder-rose, features in a set of Royal Mail stamps. A drawing from each of the 12 exhibitions is featured on a stamp.


To see more exhibitions held at Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens, as well as at Sunderland’s other venues, check out our Arts & Culture section.



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