Two exhibitions open 15 April 2015, the 563rd anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s birth. 

Leonardo da Vinci and the Idea of Beauty opens today at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. The exhibition features a number of the most admired drawings of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). Organized by the Muscarelle Museum of Art (Williamsburg, Virginia), this exhibition explores the artist’s concepts of ideal beauty. Throughout his career, Leonardo experimented with different types of drawings: scientific studies made from life, grotesque caricatures, and the most beautiful images of men and women that he could envision. Because he left so few paintings, Leonardo’s drawings have been recognized for centuries as the deepest window into his thinking. The Codex on Flight, an important loan from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin, features a newly discovered self-portrait from 1505.

On view through 14 June 2015.

Leonardo 1452-1519 also opens today in Milan. Palazzo Reale, Milan celebrates the genius of Leonardo da Vinci with the largest exhibition ever organized in Italy. It will highlight Leonardo’s ability to combine scientific thought with creative talent, art, and technology. Milan’s Biblioteca Ambrosiana will contribute over thirty drawings from the Atlantic Codex. The Musée du Louvre in Paris has allowed three paintings to travel to Milan: Saint John the Baptist, the Annunciation, and La Belle Ferronnière, which has just been restored. The Vitruvian Man will be included, showing the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry. The drawing, rarely seen out of storage at the Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice, will be on display for the maximum time permitted by conservators.

On view through 19 July 2015.

Head of a Young Woman (Study for the Angel in the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’), about 1483–85. Metalpoint on paper. Biblioteca Reale, Turin. Italy/Alinari/The Bridgeman Library. On view at MFA, Boston.

Annunciation, 1478-82. Oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris. On view at Palazzo Reale, Milan.

La belle Ferronièrec. 1490. Oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris. On view at Palazzo Reale, Milan.

St. John the Baptist, 1513-16. Oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris. On view at Palazzo Reale, Milan.

Vitruvian Man, 1490-2. Pen, ink, watercolour and metalpoint on paper, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice. On view at Palazzo Reale, Milan.

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