Da Vinci Drawings Set For Swansea

Treasures to go on show at Glynn Vivian Art Gallery

Royal Collection Trust curators have visited Swansea to lift the lid on a world class exhibition that's on its way to the city later this year.

Representatives from the charity, a department of the Royal Household that's responsible for the care of the Royal Collection, were on hand to talk about ten Leonardo da Vinci drawings from the late 15th and early 16th centuries that will go on temporary display at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery. 

The Italian, although trained as a painter and best known for works including The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, also expanded his activities into sculpture, architecture, engineering, botany, geology, zoology, mapmaking, hydraulics, optics and anatomy. His principal tool of investigation was drawing.

The ten drawings that will be on display at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery from October 15 to January 6 are among almost 600 drawings in the Royal Collection. They were originally bound in a single album, which was probably acquired in the 17th century by King Charles II.

Swansea's Glynn Vivian Art Gallery is the only place in Wales where the drawings will be on display. The exhibition will be the first held in a new gallery space at the attraction that's been introduced as part of a major redevelopment project that's nearing completion.

Cllr Robert Francis-Davies, Swansea Council's Cabinet Member for Enterprise, Development and Regeneration, said: "We're delighted that Leonardo's drawings will be coming to Swansea as part of Royal Collection Trust's tour. This will be a unique opportunity for our communities to see these wonderful, inspiring drawings from one of the greatest artists and intellectual minds the world has ever known. These drawings will be of interest to both national and international audiences, so they're an ideal way to kick-start our plans to cement the gallery's reputation for cultural excellence when it reopens later this year.


"We're hugely grateful to be working in partnership with Royal Collection Trust on an exhibition that will educate, enlighten and captivate many thousands of residents and visitors to the city."

Martin Clayton, Royal Collection Trust's Head of Prints and Drawings, said: "Leonardo's drawings are the richest, most wide-ranging, most technically brilliant, and most endlessly fascinating of any artist."

Jonathan Marsden, Royal Collection Trust Director, said: "The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci in the Royal Collection are among the greatest artistic treasures of this country. Through this touring exhibition, we aim to bring these extraordinary works of art within easy reach of people across Great Britain and Ireland."

Redevelopment works at the Glynn Vivian Art Gallery have been funded by the Arts Council of Wales, the Welsh Government, the Heritage Lottery Fund, Cadw and Swansea Council. Funding was also secured through the Building Enhancement Programme grant scheme run by Swansea Council and funded by the European Regional Development Fund.

The project includes a new lecture space as well as conservation, library, exhibition, learning and community spaces. There'll also be a new collection store for the art collection and a fully accessible entrance that means more people than ever will enjoy greatly improved access to the artworks.

A new state-of-the-art extension will link to the historic buildings, including the grade two listed 1911 gallery, which has benefitted from complete restoration and improvements to facilities and access, all of which will ensure the Glynn Vivian is fit for the 21st Century.


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