Entertainment & Arts

Leonardo da Vinci's undiscovered work goes on UK tour

Leonardo's vitruvian man Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Leonardo is famous for works including the Vitruvian Man

For all great artists, embarking on an extensive tour for your adoring fans is a must.

Leonardo da Vinci may have died hundreds of years ago, but will be doing just that across the UK next year.

To mark the 500th anniversary of his death, 144 of his greatest drawings are going on display in 12 cities.

Two studies of hands, first thought to be blank sheets of paper and revealed under ultraviolet light, will be shown.

Image copyright Royal Collection Trust
Image caption Before and after... the studies of hands for the Adoration of the Magi under ultraviolet light, on the right

The studies of hands for the Adoration of the Magi were found on what was first thought to be completely blank pieces of paper.

The drawings were revealed when the pages were examined in ultraviolet light. They had been among the 550 da Vinci sheets bound into a single album, acquired by Charles II.

Both the sheets of paper and the ultraviolet photographs will be displayed.

All the pieces have been selected to reflect the full range of da Vinci's interests, including painting and sculpture.

Put together by the Royal Collection, the drawings will also reflect his passion for architecture, music, anatomy, engineering, cartography, geology and botany.

The exhibitions will also include examples of all the drawing materials employed by the artist, including pen and ink, red and black chalks, watercolour and metalpoint.

Image copyright Royal Collection Trust
Image caption A drawing dating back to between 1504 and 1505 depicts Neptune in his chariot

The exhibitions will take place in Belfast, Birmingham, Bristol, Cardiff, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield, Southampton and Sunderland, with a further venue to be announced.

Following on from the main exhibitions next February, in May 2019 they will be brought together to form part of an exhibition at The Queen's Gallery, Buckingham Palace.

This will be the largest exhibition of da Vinci's work in more than 65 years.

Image copyright Royal Collection Trust
Image caption A drawing showing mortars firing into a fortress will go on display in Sunderland

Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, said: "The drawings of Leonardo da Vinci are a national treasure, both incredibly beautiful and the main source of our knowledge of the artist.

"We hope that as many people as possible across the UK will take this unique opportunity to see these extraordinary works, which allow us to enter one of the greatest minds in history, and to understand the man and his achievements."

Follow us on Facebook, on Twitter @BBCNewsEnts, or on Instagram at bbcnewsents. If you have a story suggestion email entertainment.news@bbc.co.uk.

More on this story