Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing

Marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, a display of 12 of the Renaissance master’s greatest drawings in the Royal Collection.

Manchester Art Gallery is taking part in Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, a nationwide exhibition to commemorate the artist’s death. We are exhibiting exquisite drawings from the Royal Collection by Leonardo da Vinci concurrently with 11 other UK galleries. Our selection of works focuses on the body and clearly demonstrates Leonardo’s use of drawing to gain an unrivalled understanding of human anatomy. The exhibition includes anatomical studies, caricatures, idealised male and female bodies, drapery, figures in action and studies of an infant and foetus. The selection demonstrates the variety of techniques he used, from pen and ink and watercolour to red and black chalks and metal point, as well as his mastery in depicting ideal and grotesque physical features.

Alongside the exhibition we are showing a selection of works from our collection, reflecting on the depiction of the body in art.


New exclusive event – Dine with Da Vinci

Dine with Da Vinci is the first in a unique series of art-meets-food supper clubs in collaboration with Manchester Food and Drink Festival. Each exclusive event sees Manchester’s best chefs create a one-off, immersive dining experience, themed around a different exhibition taking place in the stunning surroundings of Manchester Art Gallery.

Dine with Da Vinci is an authentic Italian supper club created by local specialists Salvi’s on Saturday 27 April – join us for a welcome drink before joining a private tour of the of the Leonardo Da Vinci: A Life In Drawing exhibition. The show closes on Monday 6 May and all remaining tours have sold out, so take the opportunity to enjoy an exclusive insight into 12 of Da Vinci’s iconic drawings before the exhibition is returned to the Royal Collection.

The menu is designed to be shared as a long-table banquet and will be served in the soaring, historic Gallery 9 and 10, surrounded by fine art, this immersive and unique experience is a chance to dine with friends, family, and lovers in a fabulous environment.

Booking is essential Eventbrite Tickets – Dine with Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci: Drawings from the Royal Collection Trust

Wednesday 1 May, 2pm-3pm and 7pm-8pm

As part of the exhibition, Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing, Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings, Royal Collection Trust will give an illustrated presentation about the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci.

The Many Lives of Leonardo: Biographies of the Artist

Saturday 2 March 2-3pm

Dr Luke Uglow, Lecturer in Art History, University of Manchester will give an illustrated lecture about the legends and myths of the artist’s afterlife from the 16th to 21st century. From Walter Isaacson’s biography of 2017, to the first account of the artist by Giorgio Vasari in 1550, Leonardo da Vinci’s life has been rewritten many times, constantly reinvented for a changing world.


Booking is essential, book your place on Eventbrite.

Leonardo’s Laboratory: Medical illustration in the time of Leonardo and now

Thursday 25 April 12.30-1.30pm

Drawing served as Leonardo da Vinci’s laboratory and allowed him to generate new ideas and knowledge, often without the physical means. Mark Roughley, a 3D Medical Artist and Lecturer at Liverpool School of Art and Design will give an illustrated presentation discussing what Leonardo’s art-science laboratory would look like with access to modern 3D digital technologies.


Booking is essential, book your place on Eventbrite.

Discovering Leonardo, tours

Spend time in a small group exploring Leonardo’s drawings with one of our experienced guides. Using contextual information and their own interests each guide will bring out different perspectives within the exhibition. Discover more about how he drew the works, what their purpose was and also find out more about drawings from Manchester Art Gallery’s collection. We are restricting numbers to 10 people to each tour, so that there is room for everyone to gather around each art work.

Tours take place every Tuesday 10.30-11.30am and Sunday 11am-12pm throughout the exhibition.


Booking is essential, book your place on Eventbrite.
Tuesday tours, 10.30-11.30am.
Sunday tours, 11am-12pm

Drawing Workshops

Led by an experienced life drawing tutor and with a life model present.

Wednesday 6 March 6 – 6.45pm. Book on Eventbrite.
Wednesday 6 March 7-7.45pm. Book on Eventbrite.

These 45 minute drawing sessions are a great introduction for beginners or people who want to rediscover life drawing.

Thursday 7 12.15-12.45pm. Book on Eventbrite.
Friday 8 March 12.15-12.45pm. Book on Eventbrite.

These 30 minute lunch time sessions will focus on drawing hands and feet.

Tuesday 12 March 1- 3pm. Book on Eventbrite.
Saturday 16 March 1- 3pm. Book on Eventbrite.

Each 2 hour session is a great opportunity for experienced artists to work with a model and tutor.


Leonardo, a short biography

Martin Clayton, Head of Prints and Drawings at the Royal Collection trust, on the life of Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci from Manchester Art Gallery on Vimeo.