Leonardo da Vinci Exhibition is Largest to Come to Scotland

Submitted by edg on Fri, 22 Nov '19 8.23pm

The largest exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci work to be seen in Scotland opened today at the The Queen’s Gallery and continues until 15th March.

The exhibition, which saw record daily footfall when it was shown at The Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace, marks the 500th anniversary of the death of the Renaissance master.

The 80 drawings have been together as a group since the artist’s death in 1519, and entered the Royal Collection during the reign of Charles II, around 1670.

The private drafts show Leonardo da Vinci’s ideas taking shape on paper and how his wide-ranging interests developed across both artistic and scientific spheres.

Among the exhibits are fine examples of the artist’s anatomical drawings, including The Skull Sectioned (1489), The Fetus in the Womb (c.1511) and the cardiovascular system and principal organs of a woman (c.1509–10).

Da Vinci only completed 20 paintings and the portrait called Leda was the only female nude that he ever painted. The nakedness of her body was emphasised by her elaborate hairstyle of braids and coils, which is the focus of the preparatory sketch The head of Leda (c.1505–8).

The exhibition also includes a good example of his cartographic skill in A Map of Imola (1502), A Map of the Valdichiana (c.1503–6) and The Arno Valley with the route of a proposed canal (c.1503–4).

When Da Vinci's health started failing in later life, he left Italy forever and moved to France. His late drawings and writings reveal an obsession with the idea of a cataclysmic storm overwhelming the earth and sweeping away all matter. 

Far from being chaotic, these deluges were drawn and described with the dispassionate eye of a scientist. The most elaborate is A Tempest (c.1513–18), in which wind-gods hurl thunderbolts among dense clouds, while a landslide peels away from the remains of a mountain and falls into the rushing waters below.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing is at The Queen’s Gallery, Palace of Holyroodhouse, 22 November 2019 – 15 March 2020.


  • Adult £7.50
  • Over 60 £6.80
  • Student £6.40
  • Under 17 / Disabled £3.80
  • Under 5 Free
  • Family (2 adults and 3 under 17s) £18.80