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  Imagining Leonardo -- Leonardo and Oxford: Discovering the World of Leonardo in Oxford's Collections 9 August - 5 November 2006

Ashmolean Museum: / A Maiden with a Unicorn, c. late 1470s, /Leonardo da VinciThis summer the work of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) will act as a gateway for the public into the University of Oxford's rich collections.

A discovery itinerary will be mapped throughout the City embracing the Ashmolean Museum, the Botanic Gardens, Christ Church Picture Gallery, the Museum of the History of Science and Magdalen College Chapel. Focussing on his artistic and scientific interests, the exhibitions will analyse the artistic and intellectual world inhabited by Leonardo, his friends and followers, while questioning today's image of him as a genius and celebrity.

Artist, mathematician, botanist, scientist and military engineer, Leonardo da Vinci remains an enduringly fascinating figure as a result of the amazing range of his intellect and imagination. Famous in his own lifetime, he is still celebrated, centuries later, as a universal genius. He is also seen as the quintessential Renaissance man, who lived at a time when knowledge of the world was not yet broken down into specialist areas.

The idea of using Leonardo as a lens with which to explore the collections is innovative and interdisciplinary, leading to new insights about the artist and providing a multi-layered experience for the visitor. The Oxford Discovery Itinerary is part of the international series of exhibitions and events Universal Leonardo.

Christ Church Picture Gallery: A Grotesque Head, Leonardo da VinciAshmolean Museum
Imagining Leonardo
9 August - 5 November

At the Ashmolean, Britain's oldest museum, Imagining Leonardo will have at its core a group of Leonardo drawings and will focus on how his achievement was visualised and interpreted by artists, collectors and scholars at different times. Other parts of the collection, such as the famous painting The Forest Fire by Piero di Cosimo, will be highlighted to show how Leonardo's ideas on art inspired other artists.

Botanic Garden
Leonardo's Plants
9 August - 30 September

The Botanic Garden, one of Europe's oldest Botanic Gardens, will offer activities for all the family focused on Leonardo's investigation of different species of plants. For younger visitors there will be a trail on which they will find examples of plants studied and drawn by Leonardo.

Christ Church Picture Gallery
Leonardo and Milan: Drawings from the Guise Collection
9 August - 5 November

The collection at Christ Church Picture Gallery is founded on the major bequest of old master paintings and drawings from an 18th-century military figure, General John Guise. His collection includes an impressive group of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and many by his close pupils and followers. Leonardo and Milan: Drawings from the Guise Collection will look not only at Leonardo's artistic achievements and influence, but also at General Guise's taste and way of collecting.

Magdalen College
The Last Supper from Leonardo's circle
9 August - 5 November

Magdalen College: The Last Supper, Attributed to Giampietrino (c.1495-1549) 1515, after Leonardo da Vinci, Photo credit Royal Academy of ArtsLeonardo's innovative and highly expressive Last Supper of c.1495-98 painted high on the wall of the refectory of Santa Maria della Grazia, Milan, made a huge impact on other artists. The Last Supper, attributed to a close Milanese follower of Leonardo, Giampietrino (active c.1495-1549), is a remarkable and intriguing early version on canvas of Leonardo's composition. It is on loan from the Royal Academy to Magdalen College, where it appropriately hangs in the ante-chapel in a late 15th-century setting.


Museum of the History of Science
Leonardo and the Mathematical Arts
9 August - 5 November

The Museum of the History of Science will host an exhibition on Leonardo and the Mathematical Arts. Instruments for astronomy, time-telling, surveying and drawing illustrate the mathematical culture of Italy in the 15th and 16th centuries. Leonardo would have been taken for a 'mathematician' as the term was understood at the time. The display will show what this meant in the period, and how Leonardo both worked within and moved beyond the accepted understanding of 'the mathematical arts.' The museum's outstanding collection of mathematical instruments from that period will help to illustrate the innovative achievements of the time.

  • This exhibition has been organised in association with Universal Leonardo, a Europe wide project to deepen our understanding of Leonardo da Vinci. Universal Leonardo is supported by the Council of Europe and led by Professor Martin Kemp, University of Oxford and Professor Marina Wallace, University of the Arts, London. www.universalleonardo.org.

  • Additional UK Exhibitions:

    The V&A, London
    Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design
    14 September 2006 - 7 January 2007

    Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design explores for the first time the most fundamental aspect of Leonardo's work - how he thought on paper. The exhibition provides an unrivalled insight into the mind of Leonardo da Vinci, featuring sixty superb examples of his drawings from British collections, some of which have never before been on public display. The pages will be brought to life by several large-scale models of his designs and sophisticated computer animations to illuminate his vision. www.vam.ac.uk

  • Oxford's museums and collections are world renowned. They provide an important resource for scholars internationally, and welcome visits from members of the public. Admission is free, except for the Botanic Garden, Christ Church Picture Gallery and Magdalen College.

  • Opening Times

    The Ashmolean, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH
    Open: Tues - Sat 10.00 - 17.00, Sun 12.00 - 17.00

    Botanic Gardens, Rose Lane, Oxford OX1 4AZ
    Open: Mar, Apr, Sept, Oct: 9.00-17.00, May-Aug: 9.00-18.00
    Admission £2.60

    Christ Church Picture Gallery, Christ Church. St Aldates, Oxford OX1 1DP
    Open: April-Sept: Mon-Sat 10.30 - 17.00; Sun 14.00-17.00
    Oct-Mar: Mon-Sat 10.30-13.00, 14.00-16.30; Sun 14.00-16.30
    Admission: £2.00, conc: £1.00

  • Magdalen College, High Street, Oxford OX1 4AU
    Opening: 9 Aug - 30 Sept: 12.00- 18.00; 1 Oct - 5 Nov: 13.00 - 18.00.
    Closed 2 Oct
    Admission: £3, conc: £2.00

    Museum of the History of Science, Broad Street, Oxford OX1 3AZ
    Open: Tues - Sat 12.00 -16.00, Sundays 14.00-17.00

Top Right: Ashmolean Museum: A Maiden with a Unicorn, c. late 1470s, Leonardo da Vinci
Middle Left: Christ Church Picture Gallery: A Grotesque Head, Leonardo da Vinci
Middle Right: Magdalen College: The Last Supper, Attributed to Giampietrino (c.1495-1549) 1515,
after Leonardo da Vinci, Photo credit Royal Academy of Arts

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Last updated: jcm/27-apr-2006
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