Leonardo da Vinci's flying visit to Ferens Art Gallery sure to be a big draw
IT will bring visitors face to face with the intricate work of the man behind the Mona Lisa.
Ten Drawings, by Leonardo da Vinci, opens to the public today at Ferens Art Gallery, in Hull city centre.
It is expected to be a bigger hit than David Hockney's record-breaking display at the gallery, which was seen by 63,0000 people earlier this year.
Despite being created five centuries ago, the drawings are in pristine condition, although some require a magnifying glass to appreciate the detail.
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Kirsten Simister, curator at Ferens Art Gallery, said it is a "milestone" exhibition for the art space.
She said: "We were approached about three years ago and it's a real honour to have the drawings here.
"You can't get a bigger name in the art world than Leonardo da Vinci and the work is just beautiful."
Visitors to the gallery will be greeted by the magnificent sculpture of Leonardo's Flying Machine, made from recycled materials by Lincolnshire artists Michael and Helen Scrimshaw.
The original design was made in the hope of enabling man to fly and was inspired by Leonardo's observations of the flight of winged animals such as birds and bats.
But the "jewel" of the exhibition is the stunning Head of Leda – the mythical princess who was seduced by Jupiter in the form of a swan.
Jonathan Marsden, director of the Royal Collection, said: "Hull has a tradition of great exhibitions and a splendid team.
"It's been years since we've had a display of this kind in Yorkshire and the drawings are very rare.
"When looking at this work you can almost enter da Vinci's mind and that's what people will find intriguing."
He said the exhibition covers many of the artist's interests, from costume design to maps and studies of science.
"There's just something truly special about standing in front of a 500-year-old piece of paper which da Vinci has touched," Mr Marsden said.
"The size of the display gives people the chance to look at each of the drawings slowly."
The tour has broken records in Birmingham, Bristol and Belfast and the work left Dundee to head to Hull for the final stop.
Councillor Terry Geraghty, portfolio holder for leisure and culture at the city council, said: "The city's profile has been raised as a place to visit for culture and now is a great time for visitors to come to Ferens."
Martin Clayton, senior curator of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection, said visitors will not need the subjects explaining to them."