Leonardo da Vinci: Books and Exhibitions

Solari Hero of the Year

Leonardo da Vinci is the Solari Hero of the Year for 2019. On May 2, 2019, we celebrate the 500th anniversary of his passing.

From Wikipedia:

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519), more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance whose areas of interest included invention, drawing, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. He has been variously called the father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture, and he is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time. Sometimes credited with the inventions of the parachute, helicopter, and tank, he epitomised the Renaissance humanist ideal.

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For those looking to learn more and celebrate this year, here are some ideas to help you tap into the power of da Vinci.

Books to Learn More About Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo’s Notebooks: Writing and Art of the Great Master (2013). Edited by H. Anna Suh

The best way to find out what Leonardo thought is through his own notes that have been studied and deciphered over ages. There are several translations and editions of da Vinci’s notebooks, this is a current version easily available.

Leonardo by Martin Kemp. Revised Edition 2004
Oxford professor of Art History Martin Kemp is considered to be the leading expert on Leonardo da Vinci. His book, revised to add new discoveries, is a good introduction to the da Vinci subject for anyone who wants to study the master’s art and the historical context.

Leonardo da Vinci: Flights of the Mind by Charles Nicholl (2004)

A detailed biography written by a well-known British biographer Charles Nicholl whose previous subjects included Christopher Marlowe, Arthur Rimbaud and William Shakespeare.

Leonardo Da Vinci. A Life in drawing by Martin Clayton (2018)

The author, the Head of Prints and Drawings for Royal Collection Trust at Windsor Castle, is a specialist in Leonardo drawings. The foreword to this book was written by Charles, HRH Prince of Wales. It’s a compendium of information on the 200 works of Da Vinci in the Royal collection.

2019 Exhibitions


May 2, 2019 – January 12, 2020. Castello Sforzesco. Opening of the restored Sala delle Asse.
A bedroom where da Vinci decorated the ceiling in intricate tree design for his patron, duke Ludovico Sforza underwent a major restoration. This opening date marks the 500th anniversary of da Vinci’s passing and the official start of celebration of Milan’s most famous resident.

May 16 – August 18, 2019. Castello Sforzesco. “Leonardo and the Sala delle Asse between Nature, Art and Science.”
Da Vinci drawings, as well as artwork by other Renaissance artists.

May 2, 2019 – January 12, 2020. Castello Sforzesco. Virtual Museum of Leonardo’s Milan.
A virtual recreation of the city as it looked during da Vinci lifetime.

December 18, 2018 – January 12, 2020. “Leonardo and His School in the Ambrosiana’s Collections.” Pinacoteca Ambrosiana.
Four consecutive displays of various thematic collection from Codex Atlanticus (his drawings of engineering projects and machines, as well as sketches for paintings, architecture and anatomical studies). The exhibit will also present drawings by Leonardo’s followers.

April – June 2019. “The Last Supper After Leonardo.” Stelline Foundation.
An exhibition of artworks by modern artists inspired by Leonardo: Anish Kapoor, Wang Guangxi, Yue Minjun and Nicola Samori.

October 7, 2019 – January 23, 2020. “Leonardo’s Supper for Francis I: A Masterpiece in Silk and Silver.” Palazzo Reale.
The Last Supper rendered as a tapestry commissioned by Luisa of Savoy and the Duke of Angoulême, who became Francis I, King of France.


May 24 – October 13, 2019. “Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing.” Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace.
Leonardo’s drawings from Codex Windsor have been first exhibited throughout the country and will end up at the Buckingham Palace in London this Spring. The 200 drawings to be exhibited make it the largest display of Da Vinci’s work in 65 years. A selection of 80 drawings goes to Scotland to be exhibited between November 22, 2019 – March 15, 2020 at the Queen’s Gallery in Edinburgh.


Fall 2019 – early winter 2020. “Leonardo da Vinci,” Musée du Louvre
There are five major paintings by da Vinci at the Louvre, including Mona Lisa and a less known but beautiful St. John the Baptist. The museum plans to supplement its own collection with as many as possible of the 17 paintings attributed to the master. The Louvre’s collection of drawings and sculptures will also be presented. The official dates of the exhibition have not yet been announced.

Related Solari Food for the Soul Content:

Food for the Soul: The Year of da Vinci
Food for the Soul – Da Vinci Part 2 – Milan

Related Reading:

16th Century Superstar Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci. The Complete Paintings and Drawings