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Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan

Exhibition preview

LEONARDO da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan, the most complete display of the artist’s rare surviving paintings ever held, will be on display in the Sainsbury Wing of the National Gallery from November 9, 2011 to February 5, 2012.

This unprecedented exhibition – the first of its kind anywhere in the world – brings together sensational international loans never before seen in the UK.

While numerous exhibitions have looked at Leonardo da Vinci as an inventor, scientist or draughtsman, this is the first dedicated to his aims and techniques as a painter.

Inspired by the recently restored National Gallery painting, The Virgin of the Rocks, this exhibition focuses on Leonardo as an artist. In particular it concentrates on the work he produced as court painter to Duke Lodovico Sforza in Milan in the late 1480s and 1490s.

As a painter, Leonardo aimed to convince viewers of the reality of what they were seeing while still aspiring to create ideals of beauty – particularly in his exquisite portraits – and, in his religious works, to convey a sense of awe-inspiring mystery.

Featuring the finest paintings and drawings by Leonardo and his followers, the exhibition examines Leonardo’s pursuit for perfection in his representation of the human form. Works on display include La Belle Ferronière (Musée du Louvre, Paris), the Madonna Litta (Hermitage, Saint Petersburg) and Saint Jerome (Pinacoteca Vaticana, Rome).

The final part of the exhibition features a near-contemporary, full-scale copy of Leonardo’s famous Last Supper, on loan from the Royal Academy. Seen alongside all the surviving preparatory drawings made by Leonardo for the Last Supper, visitors will discover how such a large-scale painting was designed and executed.

There will be an admission charge. See website for details.

Devotion by Design: Italian Altarpieces before 1500 continues at the National Gallery until October 2, 2011.

The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square, London, WC2N 5DN