Italy's Largest Exhibition Dedicated to Leonardo Opens in Milan

Italy celebrated the birthday of one of its most cherished treasures on Wednesday: Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance genius born April 15, 1452. And on Thursday, the largest exhibition devoted to Leonardo since 1939 opened in Milan at Palazzo Reale, “Leonardo 1452-1519,” to coincide with Milan Expo 2015, opening May 1.

The ambitious show features the full range of Leonardo’s work, including paintings, drawings, sketches, manuscripts and codexes, contextualised with drawings, sculptures and manuscripts by some of his Florentine contemporaries and predecessors, such as Sandro Botticelli, Filippino Lippi, Paolo Uccello, Lorenzo di Credi, Antonio and Piero del Pollaiolo, and architect Donato Bramante. 

The exhibition was able to borrow some of Leonardo’s most famous works from museums around the world, including the Louvre, the British Museum, the Metropolitan Museum of New York, and the Vatican Museums; not an easy feat considering museums are often reluctant to part with important masterpieces, both for conservation reasons and to avoid disappointing their visitors.

Highlights of the Milan exhibition include The Vitruvian Man, rarely shown to the public; St. John the Baptist, Belle Ferronière and Annunciation, on loan from the Louvre; St. Jerome in the Wilderness from the Vatican Museums; plus around 100 signed drawings, including some from the Codex Atlanticus, on loan from Milan's Biblioteca Ambrosiana, and 30 on loan from the UK’s Royal Collection Trust.

We hope you will have a chance to visit this outstanding exhibition – in the meantime, catch a glimpse of some of the works on display with our slideshow below. 

The exhibition closes July 19, 2015. For information and tickets, click here.