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1519 - 2019 : Commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci

« As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death » (Leonardo da Vinci)
2019 commemorates the 500th anniversary of da Vinci, institutions worldwide have launched events and exhibitions.
Published on 02 May 2019
Leonardo da Vinci

Amboise (dpa) - France and Italy have declared their friendship on the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. The artist is the "historical and cultural link" that unites both neighbouring countries, declared France's head of state Emmanuel Macron on Thursday.

The 41-year-old laid flowers at the artist's grave in Amboise on the Loire with his Italian counterpart Sergio Mattarella. Mattarella replied to the question of whether he and Macron had made peace: "That is not necessary. The ties between the two countries are strong."

Leornardo, the creator of the Mona Lisa, died on 2 May 1519 in France, but came from Tuscany. Macron and his wife Brigitte received Mattarella and his daughter Laura on Thursday at Clos Lucé Castle, where Leonardo had spent the last years of his life and had died. France's King Franz I had had the painter come to Amboise in 1516. Franz I was an art lover and fascinated by Leonardo.

The Renaissance artist became famous not only as a painter, but also as a sculptor, architect, engineer and scientist. This year, museums in many countries have dedicated their own exhibitions to him, and in his native Italy alone there are more than 500 events.

Selection of International Events & Exhibitions 


Leonardo da Vinci: Reflected in his library - Exhibition at the Museo Galileo in Florence from 6 June to 22 September 2019: "Leonardo and His Books: The Universal Genius’ Library"

Forster Codices
The Forster Codices are a collection of Leonardo da Vinci's manuscripts and were part of the library of the writer and biographer John Forster. He bequeathed the work to the South Kensington Museum - now the Victoria and Albert Museum - in London in 1876. © akg-images / WHA / World History Archive

Leonardo was not at all—as generally retained—“an unlettered man”. An avid reader, he owned nearly two hundred books, an extraordinary number for a 15th-century artist-engineer. The library represents one of the less studied aspects of Leonardo, because it is a “lost library”: only one volume actually used by him has come down to us. The exhibition will reconstruct this library through the many references to be found in Da Vinci’s writings: quotations, authors’ names, book titles, and lists of works in his possession. Magnificent manuscripts and precious incunabula will be on display, while multimedia will allow visitors to leaf through and link them to the pages in the artist’s notebooks. A digital library containing all of the books owned or consulted by Leonardo will be accessible online even after the exhibition’s end.

Full details to view the exhibition


To mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, 144 of the Renaissance master's greatest drawings in the Royal Collection will go on display in 12 simultaneous exhibitions across the UK. "Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing", a nationwide event, will give the widest-ever UK audience the opportunity to see the work of this extraordinary artist.

All information on the partner venues can be found here: 

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing from Royal Collection Trust on Vimeo.

One of the greatest collections of his notebooks including about 600 drawings is held by the Royal Collection, since first acquired – probably – by Charles II. From May 24, an exhibition of over 200 of these will open at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace. 


Paris - Musée du Louvre: Leonardo da Vinci
Large retrospektive from from October 24, 2019 - until February 24, 2020

Portrait de femme, dit la Belle Ferronnière - Musée du Louvre

An exceptional exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci will be presented at the Musée du Louvre in the fall of 2019. A unique group of artworks that only the Louvre could bring together, in addition to its outstanding collection of paintings and drawings by the Italian master.

The museum which sees over 10 million visitors each year, anticipates such large interest that the exhibition can only get accessed with previous reservation. 



Ex MachinaGERMANY 

Museum der Universität Tübingen:
Ex Machina LEONARDO  

At the centre of this only major presentation in Germany for this anniversary are almost 50 large replicas of Leonardo's machine designs. Leonardo has become an icon of interdisciplinarity and universality because his life's work encompasses science, art and innovative technology. This correlation of different educational and scientific systems can also be seen in the 70 research, teaching and exhibition collections of the old Eberhard Karls University, founded in 1477 - the year in which the 25-year-old Leonardo won the favor of Lorenzo il Magnificos, the lord of Florence.


VIDEO: Leonardos unvollkommene Erfindungen
Ausstellung zum 500. Todestag von Leonardo da Vinci
tagesthemen 22:15 Uhr, 02.05.2019, Jenni Rieger, SWR

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