AD – This is post is sponsored by Sunderland Culture
Whenever I travel abroad I love to visit the local museums and must-see landmarks to get up close to renowned artwork from famous artists, especially in European cities. I couldn’t leave Florence without visiting Michelangelo’s David and no trip to Barcelona is complete without a stroll around Gaudi’s spectacular Park Güell! However, like many people, I’m probably a little bit guilty of letting amazing art exhibitions pass me by when they’re in my home town.
So, when I heard there was an opportunity to see a collection of drawings from Leonardo Da Vinci just down the road in Sunderland I decided to take some time out of my hectic schedule and head across Tyne and Wear to check it out.
‘Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing’ is a nationwide event to mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo da Vinci’s death and is taking place in 12 venues simultaneously across the UK. It started in February and runs till May 6th with Sunderland being a key location as it’s the only place to see this extraordinary exhibition between Leeds and Scotland.
Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens is the perfect venue as it’s right in the heart of the city and easily accessible from across the north east. It’s a great place for a day out with with lots to see alongside this special exhibition which features a dozen of the Renaissance master’s amazing drawings from the Royal Collection.
I arrived a little early for my pre-booked timeslot to see the da Vinci drawings so I had a lovely wander around the vast building, checking out the wide range of collections that pay homage to Sunderland’s rich and fascinating history. I loved the various room set up’s with audio guides that showed what life was like for ordinary people living in the city in decades gone by. I also explored spaces dedicated to shipbuilding, coal mining, glass making and pottery. The Museums Art Gallery shows a significant collection of the works of LS Lowry, who was a regular visitor to Sunderland. Oh, and a stroll around the winter gardens is a must! If you’ve never been before I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much there is to see!
Anyway, back to Leonardo da Vinci… it was fascinating to see his intricate work up close. The drawings which include a female portrait, a map of Tuscany and sketches of animal and human anatomy offer a real insight in to the remarkable workings of this great man’s mind.
He might be most famous for artwork including the Last Supper and Mona Lisa but his talents went far beyond painting. He was an incredible scientist and genius thinker! In fact, drawings in his notebooks from the 15th century reveal ideas for bridges and flying machines, he was so ahead of his time and produced a staggering amount of work that definitely deserves to be celebrated.
Next door to the ticketed exhibition there is another area to explore free of charge which asks the question ‘What Would Leonardo Do Today?’ It’s definitely work checking out and is sure to open your mind and leave you feeling inspired.
Tickets to see Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing are just £2.50 per person (under 16’s are free). They are available in one hour time slots so the exhibition doesn’t get too crowded and it’s best to book online then just pick up your ticket at the reception desk when you arrive.
The opening times are:
Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Saturday: 11am – 5pm (last entry 4pm)
Wednesday: 11am – 7pm (Late night opening, last entry 6pm)
Thursday: 11am – 7pm (Late night opening, last entry 6pm)
Sunday: 12noon – 4pm (last entry 3pm)
To purchase tickets click here
During your visit to Sunderland Museum and Winter Gardens be sure to pop in to Holmeside Coffee for the best brownies of your life. It’s a gorgeous relaxed cafe with an outdoor terrace overlooking Mowbray Park.
If you enjoyed this post you might also want to read about the time I had ‘A Sunny Day Out in Sunderland’.