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LEONARDO DA VINCI: A LIFE IN DRAWING


  Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci

  the exhibition brings together more than 200 of the Renaissance master's

  greatest drawings in the Royal Collection, forming the largest exhibition

  of Leonardo's work in over 65 years.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing - The Queen's Gallery, London from Royal Collection Trust on Vimeo.

  Drawing served as Leonardo's laboratory, allowing him to work out

  his ideas on paper and search for the universal laws that he believed

  underpinned all of creation. The drawings by Leonardo in the Royal

  Collection have been together as a group since the artist's death in 1519.

  Acquired during the reign of Charles II, they provide an unparalleled

  insight into the workings of Leonardo's mind and reflect the full range

  of his interests, including painting, sculpture, architecture, anatomy,

  engineering, cartography, geology and botany.


  "For the pattern of life shall continue and man shall learn

   more as to his welfare and conduct and shall benefit as

   he may wish from my humble investigations."

                                                                         Leonardo da Vinci

    This sketch, and the notes that go with it, show how Leonardo understood

   the proportions of the human body. Each separate part was a simple

   fraction of the whole. For example, the head measured from the forehead

   to the chin was exactly one tenth of the total height, and the outstretched

   arms were always as wide as the body was tall.

   These ideas were not Leonardo's, but were taken from the writings of the

   Roman architect Vitruvius. Both men believed that the same principles

   should be used when designing buildings.

   However, Leonardo tried to take these ideas further, and spent much of 

   his life searching for connections between the structure of the human

   body, and other patterns in nature. Elsewhere in his notes, he proclaimed

   that "Man is the model of the world".

   Vitruvian man may also give us an insight into another problem that

   occupied Leonardo for much of his life; that of 'squaring the circle'.

   This involves drawing a circle and square that have the same area

   without measuring. Some argue that this diagram shows that Leonardo

   had a sophisticated understanding of the problem, which other

   mathematicians would not develop until much later.

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Comment by Michael Grove on May 29, 2019 at 9:00

  "Geometry has two great treasures: one is the

   theorem of Pythagoras, the other the division

   of a line into a mean and extreme ratio. The

   first we may compare to a mass of gold, the

   second we may call a precious jewel."   

                                                            Johannes Kepler

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