WATCH: Unique chance for NI public to see remarkable work of Leonardo da Vinci

Over the next five weeks the Northern Ireland public will have a rare opportunity to view some incredible works by revered Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci.

A new exhibition featuring a selection of some of the Renaissance master’s finest drawings opens at the Ulster Museum, Belfast today.

Theresa-Mary Morton (left), head of exhibitions at the Royal Collection, and Anne Stewart, senior curator of art with National Museums NI, at the launch of the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition at the Ulster Museum. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Theresa-Mary Morton (left), head of exhibitions at the Royal Collection, and Anne Stewart, senior curator of art with National Museums NI, at the launch of the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition at the Ulster Museum. Photo by Matt Mackey / Press Eye

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is part of a nationwide event organised by the Royal Collection Trust. It is being held to mark 500 years since the artist’s death.

The Belfast exhibition is one of 12 running simultaneously across the UK, giving the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see Leonardo’s extraordinary work, which dates back to the 15th and 16th centuries.

The 12 drawings selected for display in the Ulster Museum reflect his expansive knowledge of architecture, anatomy, engineering, cartography and botany. Famous works include The Head of St Anne and an anatomical drawing from 1489, The Skull Sectioned.

The delicate drawings are normally kept in light-proof boxes at Windsor Castle and aren’t on public display, so this is a unique opportunity to see Leonardo’s work in Belfast.

Famous works on display include The Head of St Anne, made around 1510 in preparation for his famous masterpiece The Virgin and Child with St Anne, which hangs in the Louvre. c. 1510-15, Royal Collection Trust / � Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

Famous works on display include The Head of St Anne, made around 1510 in preparation for his famous masterpiece The Virgin and Child with St Anne, which hangs in the Louvre. c. 1510-15, Royal Collection Trust / � Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2019.

Describing the exhibition as “a real celebration of Leonardo’s achievement”, senior curator of art at National Museums NI, Anne Stewart said: “He is the artist who is almost the easiest to understand because he is showing you life, humanity, the planet, the natural world, the weather, how water moves, how the human body is constructed. It’s how we live, it’s how we are, it’s what we are and he shows you that in the most remarkable detail and beauty. It sounds simple but he is giving you the whole of human experience.”

Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings with the Royal Collection Trust, commented: “The exhibition at the Ulster Museum demonstrates the extraordinarily wide range of Leonardo’s work throughout his lifetime, and is a thrilling opportunity for audiences to engage directly with one of the greatest minds in history. His drawings were central to his work in every field, both his artistic projects and his scientific investigations: they allowed Leonardo to work out his ideas on paper, and can be viewed as his private laboratory.”

Theresa-Mary Morton, head of exhibitions at the Royal Collection in London, added: “Come and see and be amazed by the strength and beauty of the drawings. People who know nothing about art will have heard about Leonardo in some way and this will give an insight into what actually made him tick.”

The exhibition runs at the Ulster Museum from today until May 6 and admission is free.

For more information log on to www.nmni.com