Inches from Da Vincis

Last weekend I was fortunate enough to see for myself the many spectacular creative works by Leonardo da Vinci, currently displayed for a limited time, in the National Gallery.

More fascinating and intriguing than the paintings, were the sketches and plans undergone in preparation for his many famous works of portraiture. These pieces explored anatomy, material folds and dimension. It was a special privilege to see these plans up close – not least because the vast majority of these preparatory pieces are owned by the Queen and form part of her private collection.

Another incredible thing that I learned is that Leonardo, who was left handed, wrote in ‘mirror script’ (from right to left). The reasons for this are unknown, but the theories range from the mundane to the fascinating: some will tell you that mirror script prevents lefties from smudging their ink; others have speculated that Da Vinci was a crypto-Jew and wrote right to left habitually. Unsurprisingly, and irrespective of the truth, his handwriting is as beautiful as his art.

I believe that tickets for the exhibition may have sold out, but if you happen to ‘know someone who knows someone’ perhaps its time to call in a favour!


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