Close up and personal with Da Vinci

by Richard Flatley, SVI Trustee

We all thoroughly enjoyed our accessible guided tour of the Leonardo exhibition at BMAG (Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery) on 2 April.

We very much appreciated being met at the tram station and being led to the gallery. We recovered from our journey with coffee and biccies in the lovely Edwardian Tearooms.

Jane describes Davinci's early life

We walked through the silent gallery, it had closed to the general public at 5pm, to the Leonardo room and met our chic and welcoming fine arts guide, Jane Hornby.

Jane painted a verbal picture of Leonardo's early life, his relatively lowly birth to his final years of being lionised by popes and numerous kings of Europe.

We really appreciated being told about the materials used to create the works. The fine papers made from rag and others from hemp to the iron gall inks and various clays used to create the orange/red grounds.

Looking at the enlarged cardboard images

We learned a great deal about the selected works. About the patrons and the proposed use for the work, as in the sectionalised metalpoint drawing of the horse as a preparation for a large bronze, only for the forged bronze to be sequestered to make canons for the war against France.

Jane created a vivid picture of Leonardo's life and times and contextualised the history and importance of the collection. We also thoroughly appreciated the props used for this special VI tour, the enlarged A2 cardboard images of the works and the 3D creations by Geoff Henderson.

Close up to a 3D creation

All too soon the visit was over and we were back on our merry way to Sandwell a happy and, thanks to Jane, a more knowledgeable group.

As Leonardo said, "A well spent day brings happy sleep".

Molto bene, grazie!



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