NPR logo

Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/922561/922562" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman

Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman

Exhibit Brings Together Rarely-Seen Work

Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/922561/922562" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">

Head of the Virgin in three quarter view facing right, Leonardo da Vinci The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York hide caption

toggle caption
The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York

Study for the head of a soldier in the 'Battle of Anghiari' (recto), Leonardo da Vinci Szepmuveszeti Museum, Budapest hide caption

toggle caption
Szepmuveszeti Museum, Budapest

Scientist, inventor, theorist, teacher, artist: Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) changed the way we see the world. He is universally acknowledged as a great painter, and his Mona Lisa and The Last Supper are two of the most famous images in the world.

There are at most only 15 other Leonardo paintings — but there are thousands of doodles, drawings and sketches. A new exhibit of those works opens next week at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman contains about 120 rarely seen drawings and 30 works by Leonardo's teacher and his pupils. The selection of drawings are culled from private and public collections in Europe and North America including the Royal Library of Windsor Castle, the Musée du Louvre and the Gallerie dell' Accademia in Venice.

"When you look at a drawing by Leonardo is to really see him thinking on the paper," says Carmen Bambach, curator of drawings and prints at the Met. "To see the drawings is to understand so much about the creative process of Leonardo. If we look at, say, the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper — those are masterpieces of extraordinary expression, arresting power. But we're looking at the finished product."

The works range from quickly sketched first thoughts to studies for his most famous works. Also included are landscape, botanical, anatomical, and military engineering drawings.

The exhibit opens Jan. 22 and runs through March 30, 2003.