The big Paris exhibition this season is “Leonardo da Vinci” at the Musee du Louvre (until February 24). It features a unique group of artworks that only the Louvre could bring together complementing its own outstanding collection of paintings and drawings by the Italian master.
The year 2019 marks the fifth centenary of the artist’s death at Amboise, in the Loire Valley. When his patron Giuliano de’ Medici died, Leonardo da Vinci left Italy for France at the invitation of the new French king, François I. Probably around November 1516, he arrived at the Château du Clos Lucé, a stone’s throw from the king’s residence at Amboise.
He spent the last three years of his life in Amboise compiling notes on various scientific and artistic subjects with a view to publishing treatises, and working on the paintings he had brought with him to France, such as Saint Anne, the Mona Lisa and Saint John the Baptist. Some remarkable drawings from this period, done on French-made paper, illustrate his work on hydraulic projects, festivities for the king and a monumental equestrian sculpture.
The Italian Renaissance genius died at the Château du Clos Lucé on May 2, 1519.. This is why the Louvre holds almost a third of his corpus of paintings: those he brought to France were purchased by François I and entered the royal collections, which probably already included The Virgin of the Rocks and La Belle Ferronnière, acquired by Louis XII. This outstanding set of paintings, which formed the beginning of the Louvre’s collections, was supplemented by twenty-two of the artist’s remarkable drawings.
“Leonardo da Vinci,” to February 24, 2020. Visitors to this exceptional exhibition are required to make reservations for a specific time slot www.ticketlouvre.fr