Nottingham Castle is currently displaying (until 9 October) 10 of Leonardo da Vinci’s drawings, on loan from the Royal Collection. The drawings take in many of Leonardo’s eclectic interests spanning anatomy, botany and engineering and were done in pen and ink, chalk and watercolours.
My favourite was probably the above, Cats, Lions and a Dragon from around 1513 where Leonardo studied the flexibility and movement of animals from close observation, and in the case of the dragon from his imagination.
The study for the head of St Anne is another drawing that stands out, from around 1510. The original commission for this may have come from Louis XII of France and the final painting, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, can now be seen in the Louvre.
Another highlight is the heart compared to a seed sketch (not easy to photograph given the reflections in the room). This sketch was done around 1507 when he performed an autopsy on an old man in a Florence hospital. (I’ve never really given it much thought but the exhibition seemed keen to highlight that dissection was actually allowed by the Church). Leonardo showed an interest and grasp of anatomy far above that of his peers though he never published any of his discoveries.
I was pleasantly surprised that photography was allowed, and you can find more of my photos of the exhibition here.
However if you can visit it’s a great opportunity to see the drawings up close. And, even though I still remember the days when entry to Nottingham Castle was free for city residents, I do think the £7 annual pass (entry to the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition is included in the normal entry price) is a good idea and I’ll definitely be taking advantage of it.