BIRMINGHAM, AL.-The Birmingham Museum of Art announced that one of the most significant groups of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci will be loaned to a U.S. museum for the first time by the Biblioteca Reale (Royal Library) in Turin, Italy. Organized by the Birmingham Museum of Art, the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Drawings from the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, will open September 28 and run through November 9, 2008 in Birmingham. The works encompass one of Leonardos most celebrated notebooks, the Codex on the Flight of Birds, and 11 important drawings, including one described by Bernard Berenson as the most beautiful drawing in the world. The drawings have never before traveled as a group nor in their entirety been made available outside of Italy.
This exhibition provides a rare glimpse into the mind of the greatest draftsman of all time, whose designs still fascinate and challenge us today. Often called the universal genius, Leonardo is recognized for his restless, inventive mind, and the drawings in Turin illustrate in microcosm the extensive range of his interests.
It is a tremendous honor to be the first museum to present these drawings as a group to the United States, says Gail Andrews, Director of the Birmingham Museum of Art. We are deeply grateful to the Biblioteca Reale and to the Foundation for Italian Art & Culture for facilitating this initiative. The Birmingham Museum of Art is committed to bringing to our community objects of global significance that broaden appreciation for artistic endeavor, our understanding of the world and ourselves. These drawings by Leonardo da Vinci offer an unparalleled opportunity for careful observation and insight into the mind of a master.
The drawings are acute observations, fantastical explorations, anatomical studies, and utilitarian working drawings; one sheet includes a fragment of a poem. They are executed in a variety of media, including red chalk, black chalk, metalpoint, and pen and inksome on red, blue, and green prepared paper. Dating from about 1480 to 1510, the works traverse the most fertile period of Leonardos career.