Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Leonardo in Exeter

We took the little 'un to see the Leonardo da Vinci exhibition that's currently running in Exeter. The museum has done an admirable job in securing a loan of the sketches from the Royal collection, and I felt privileged to be able to examine them at such close quarters.

I was particularly taken with "A study of a woman's hands" (possibly for the portrait of Cecilia Gallerani), c.1490. Quite apart from its possible significance as a study for such a well-known piece, it contained, almost as a doodle, a lovely sketch of a grotesque head in its top left corner.

I also loved "A sheet of pictographs", drawn over an architectural plan, c.1490, also known as rebuses or cryptograms. A detailed description of this sheet is given in Charles Nicholl's biography Leonardo Da Vinci: The Flights of the Mind.

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