Leonardo da Vinci exhibition on course to be a record-breaker, as show proves big draw

Kirstie Hamilton, from Museums Sheffield, and Caroline de Guitaut, from the Royal Collection, with some of the works on display in the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield
Kirstie Hamilton, from Museums Sheffield, and Caroline de Guitaut, from the Royal Collection, with some of the works on display in the Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing exhibition at the Millennium Gallery in Sheffield

An exhibition of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, described as a once in a generation chance to see the great man's works in Sheffield, has proved a huge hit since opening at the Millennium Gallery last Friday.

The blockbuster show is on course to be a record breaker, with visitor numbers for the opening week higher than for any exhibition staged at the gallery during the last decade and possibly ever.

Kirstie Hamilton with another of the Leonardo da Vinci drawings which have gone on display

Kirstie Hamilton with another of the Leonardo da Vinci drawings which have gone on display

Kirstie Hamilton, director of programmes at Museums Sheffield, said she was delighted with the public response so far, especially by how many people had been inspired by the Italian master to try their hand at drawing.

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"The visitor numbers have been fantastic. We've been getting at least twice as many people so far as we usually do and it's definitely the best opening in the last 10 years and possibly ever," she said.

"We've had lots of enthusiastic comments from people saying how amazing it is to see his drawings in Sheffield and how pleased they are that the Royal Collection is being shared across the nation.

"What's really surprised us is how popular the area where you can have a go at drawing is proving, with lots of people being inspired by what they've seen to pick up a pencil themselves."

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Ms Hamilton added that the Vehicle of Nature, a companion show to the main exhibition using digital technology to provide a modern response to da Vinci's creations, was also going down incredibly well.

"There's been a real buzz around both exhibitions. There's a great atmosphere and it's really pleasing to see some of the comments we've had on social media from people saying how amazing the shows are," she added.

Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing features 12 of the great man's most extraordinary drawings, including a study for his masterpiece the Last Supper.

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The free exhibition is on at the Millennium Gallery, on Arundel Gate, until May 6.

More of the Italian master’s drawings, taken from the Royal Collection, have gone on display simultaneously at galleries in cities around the UK, including Leeds, Manchester and Derby, to mark the 500th anniversary of his death.

The Vehicle of Nature is at the Millennium Gallery until May 26.

For more information about the exhibitions, including the range of talks, events and activities accompanying them, visit museums-sheffield.org.uk.