WORKS BY LEONARDO DA VINCI
ON VIEW AT THE MORGAN LIBRARY & MUSEUM THIS FALL
EXHIBITION INCLUDES LEONARDO’S CODEX ON THE FLIGHT OF BIRDS
AND THE HEAD OF A YOUNG WOMAN—NEVER SEEN IN NEW YORK
Leonardo da Vinci:
Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale,Turin
October 25, 2013–February 2, 2014
New York, NY, September 16, 2013—The genius of Leonardo da Vinci—draftsman,
painter, scientist, inventor—continues to captivate us almost five hundred
years after his death. This fall, the Morgan Library & Museum will present
a unique opportunity to encounter this great Renaissance master.
The exhibition will feature a spectacular group of works by Leonardo from the
Biblitoeca Reale, Turin, including one of his most famous manuscripts, the
Codex on the Flight of Birds, and his wonderful Head of a Young Woman,
both on view in New York for the first time. They will be presented together
with a selection of other drawings by Leonardo, featuring the scientist as well
as the artist. The exhibition will also include works by Leonardo’s followers
and the Morgan’s Codex Huygens, a Renaissance manuscript recording lost notes
Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale,Turin will
be on view October 25, 2013–February 2, 2014.
"We are delighted to offer New Yorkers the rare opportunity to see this
selection of works by Leonardo,” said William M. Griswold, director of the
Morgan Library & Museum. "The Morgan is well known for its superb
collection of Italian Renaissance drawings, so this exhibition is particularly
apt. We would like to thank our colleagues at the Biblioteca Reale, Turin, for
their assistance in organizing the show, and we are especially pleased that it
coincides with the Year of Italian Culture in the United States.”
Leonardo’s Codex on the Flight of Birds
The exhibition will show two sides of Leonardo. The first section—Exploring
Nature—will revolve around Leonardo’s famous Codex on the Flight of Birds
(ca. 1505/6), which demonstrates Leonardo’s extraordinary ability to move
seamlessly between art, science, and nature. In addition to architectural
sketches, designs for machines, and various diagrams, most of the thirty-six
pages of this notebook are devoted to detailed observations on the flight of
birds. In both the text—written in Leonardo’s characteristic mirror script—and
the accompanying drawings, Leonardo carefully analyzed the movement of birds,
how they keep their equilibrium, steer their flight, and manage to ascend,
descend, and dive. Leonardo’s interest in the flight of birds was largely motivated
by his desire to build a machine that would allow man to fly. Presented
alongside the Codex on the Flight of Birds will be additional works by
Leonardo, including a charming sketch of insects, drawings on the anatomy of
the horse, studies of the human body, as well as the Morgan’s own drawing by
Leonardo with two machine designs: a device for bending beams and a maritime
Leonardo’s Head of a Young Woman
The second section of the exhibition—Making Art—features Leonardo’s Head
of a Young Woman, a drawing praised by the legendary connoisseur Bernard
Berenson as "one of the finest achievements of all draughtsmanship.” The
celebrated study, which served as the model for the angel in Leonardo’s famous Virgin
of the Rocks will be shown together with further drawings by Leonardo
and his followers, the so-called Leonardeschi. Of particular note are works by
Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio, Leonardo’s most talented pupil, as well as
Francesco Melzi and Cesare da Sesto.
Leonardo’s Legacy: The
Joining the works from the Biblioteca Reale will be the Morgan’s Codex Huygens,a
treatise on painting from the late sixteenth century, closely related to
Leonardo. Some of the drawings in fact represent faithful copies of now-lost
originals by Leonardo. The name of the codex refers to its former owner,
Constantijn Huygens (1628–1697), secretary to King William III of England, who
firmly believed it to be an autograph work by Leonardo. This exhibition marks
the first time that a selection of sheets from the codex will be shown
alongside related drawings by Leonardo.
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo was born in 1452 in the small town of Vinci. Apprenticed in Florence,
he moved to Milan around 1482, where he worked at the court of Ludovico Sforza.
He returned to Florence around 1500, moved back to Milan a few years later and,
on the invitation of King Francis I, eventually settled in France. He died in
Amboise in 1519.
The Biblioteca Reale
The Biblioteca Reale, Turin, was founded by the Royal House of Savoy in the
first half of the nineteenth century to house its magnificent collection of
precious rare books, manuscripts, and works on paper, including an important
corpus of drawings by Leonardo. A later addition to the collection, the
celebrated Codex on the Flight of Birds was presented to the Library not until
1893 during the reign of Umberto I of Savoy as King of Italy. Thanks to the
number of autograph drawings and the Codex on the Flight of Birds, the
Biblioteca Reale is one of the world’s major repositories of works by Leonardo.
The exhibition will be accompanied by a publication in English and Italian with
essays by three eminent Leonardo scholars. Paola Salvi, Deputy Director of the
Accademia delle Belle Arti di Brera in Milan, examines Leonardo’s drawings from
Turin and the Codex on the Flight of Birds; Carlo Pedretti, Professor Emeritus
at the University of California, discusses the Morgan’s Codex Huygens; and
Annalisa Perissa Torrini, Director of the Gabinetto dei Disegni at the Galleria
dell’Accademia in Venice, explores the relationship between Leonardo and his
In addition, the Morgan will make the entire Codex Huygens available online,
with high-resolution images of all 128 sheets.
Leonardo the Artist-Scientist and His Notebooks
With Carmen C. Bambach
Thursday, December 19,6:30 pm
Leonardo da Vinci (1552–1519) has been especially popularized as the universal
genius of the Renaissance for his activity as artist and scientist. Carmen C.
Bambach, Curator, Department of Drawings and Prints, the Metropolitan Museum of
Art, will attempt to explain some of Leonardo's methods and innovations, based
on an examination of his extant notebooks and practices, and how he was
perceived historically. This lecture is co-organized by the Morgan Drawing
Institute. Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale,Turin,
will be open at 5:30 pm for lecture attendees.
$15; $10 for Members; Free for students and teachers with valid ID.
www.themorgan.org/programs; 212-685-0008 x560
Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale,Turin
Friday, November 1,6:30 pm
An informal exhibition tour with curator Per Rumberg.
Free with museum admission
BETWEEN THE LINES
Leonardo Da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale,Turin
Saturday, November 2,11 am
Written or drawn, lines are to be read and interpreted. In this interactive
gallery talk, a museum educator will lead participants in an hour-long
discussion on a selection of works from Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures
from the Biblioteca Reale,Turin.
Free with museum admission. Space is limited on a first-come first-serve basis.
Leonardo da Vinci:
Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale,Turinis organized by Per Rumberg, Associate
Curator of Drawings at the Morgan.
The exhibition is organized by the Morgan Library & Museum and the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Italian Cultural Heritage and
Activities, the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C., and the Biblioteca Reale
in Turin in collaboration with the Italian Cultural Institute of New York and la
Fondazione New York. It was made possible with generous support from the estate
of Alex Gordon, the T. Kimball Brooker Foundation, Jean-Marie and Elizabeth
Eveillard, Diane A. Nixon, and Mr. and Mrs. Seymour R. Askin, Jr., and from
Giunti, Finmeccanica, Fondazione Bracco and Tenaris. It is part of 2013—Year
of Italian Culture in the United States, an initiative held under the
auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, organized by the Italian
Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. with
the support of Corporate Ambassadors, Eni and Intesa Sanpaolo.
programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds
from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the
City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of
Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.
The Morgan Library &
The Morgan Library & Museum began as the private library of financier
Pierpont Morgan, one of the preeminent collectors and cultural benefactors in
the United States. Today, more than a century after its founding in 1906, the
Morgan serves as a museum, independent research library, musical venue,
architectural landmark, and historic site. In October 2010, the Morgan
completed the first-ever restoration of its original McKim building, Pierpont
Morgan’s private library, and the core of the institution. In tandem with the
2006 expansion project by architect Renzo Piano, the Morgan now provides
visitors unprecedented access to its world-renowned collections of drawings, literary
and historical manuscripts, musical scores, medieval and Renaissance
manuscripts, printed books, and ancient Near Eastern seals and tablets.
The Morgan Library & Museum
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