Universal Leonardo: a Europe wide celebration of a brilliant mind

Universal Leonardo is proud to announce a unique programme of exhibitions that will put the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci at the heart of major cities across Europe. Universal Leonardo, an international partnership of galleries working together to promote the Leonardo legacy, has coordinated this bold programme of exhibitions.

The Universal Leonardo initiative, which is funded by the Council of Europe and supported by Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, at University of the Arts London, is the biggest ever series of linked exhibitions devoted to the Italian genius. The exhibitions will take place in five cities across Europe, between March 2006 and January 2007.

In an attempt to preserve the priceless Leonardo legacy, Universal Leonardo will not be moving fragile objects across Europe to create one blockbuster exhibition. Instead the exhibitions will be held at or near venues that already exhibit work by Leonardo, encouraging the public to go to the artwork, rather than having the artwork shipped to the public.

Each of the venues will celebrate and explore a particular aspect of the artist’s work, from his mastery of mathematics and science, to his love of anatomy and design. The pan-European venues mirror the staggering range of Leonardo’s influence, and include science museums, national art galleries, and botanical gardens.

Bringing together Leonardo experts from across the globe, Universal Leonardo aims to satisfy the appetite for all things Leonardo. By showing how Leonardo’s work in seemingly disparate areas connects, Universal Leonardo will guide audiences through the life of the artist, charting his achievements in a linear way that creates a framework to his life and work.

Led by Leonardo scholar Professor Martin Kemp from Oxford University and by Professor Marina Wallace from Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, Universal Leonardo works with leading curators, art historians, academics and scientists across Europe to stimulate dialogue and discovery around the Leonardo legacy. Professor Wallace says: “Universal Leonardo is not only an incredible series of exhibitions, it is an in-depth examination of the contribution Leonardo Da Vinci has made to our understanding of the human condition, the world and the Universe.”

The Universal Leonardo website has been created to support all aspects of the initiative and provide a long-lasting educational resource. It uses cutting-edge technology to present Leonardo’s massive body of work in bite-size chunks. Through a series of trails graphically illustrated on an interactive timeline, the site explores the core concepts that form the basis of Leonardo's work, and the connections he made between art and science, bucking the trend of other Leonardo resources that tend to look at his work in a compartmentalised way.

The website also provides access to a gallery of over 100 images, many of which are zoomable, in-depth features on Leonardo, an introductory bibliography and links to other web sites and institutions holding Leonardo works. The complete Universal Leonardo website will launch in May 2006.

Dates and venues of the exhibitions in Europe:

• Florence - Uffizi Gallery, The Mind of Leonardo: The Universal Genius at Work
28th March 2006 - 7th Jan 2007

• The Oxford Trail
The University of Oxford Botanic Garden, Leonardo’s Plants
1st Apr – 30th Sep 2006
Museum of the History of Science, Leonardo and the Mathematical Arts
9th Aug – 5th Nov 2006
Christ Church Picture Gallery, Leonardo and Milan: Drawings from the Guise Collection
9th Aug – 5th Nov 2006
The Ashmolean Museum, Imagining Leonardo
9th Aug – 5th Nov 2006

• London - Victoria and Albert Museum, Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment and Design
14th Sept 2006 – 7th Jan 2007
• Munich - Alte Pinakothek, Leonardo: The Madonna with the Carnation
14th Sept - 5th Dec 2006
• Budapest - Museum of Fine Arts, Leonardo da Vinci and Associates: Sculpture and Drawings
5th Oct – 10th Dec 2006

Ends Notes to Editors
1. For further information or to set up interviews, contact: Garfield Myrie on 020 7514 6218 or
2. University of the Arts London (formerly the London Institute), inaugurated in May 2004, is the first dedicated arts institution in the UK to achieve university status. The University brings together in a single federated structure five of the world's most famous art and design colleges. They are:
· Camberwell College of Arts
· Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design (incorporating Drama Centre and Byam Shaw School of Art)
· Chelsea College of Art and Design
· London College of Communication (formerly London College of Printing)
· London College of Fashion (incorporating Cordwainers).

The Colleges have produced many of the greatest names in art, design, communications, fashion and performing arts, including: Anish Kapoor, Sir Terence Conran, John Galliano, Ralph Fiennes, Sarah Lucas, Gavin Turk, Stella McCartney, Gilbert and George, Antony Gormley, Pierce Brosnan, Rankin, Jefferson Hack, Mike Leigh, Malcolm McLaren.

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