Carol Strickland in The Christian Science Monitor:
As someone who appreciates Leonardo da Vinci’s painting skills, I’ve long marveled at how crowds rush past his most sublime painting, “The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne,” to line up in front of the “Mona Lisa” at the Louvre Museum in Paris. The art critic in me wants to say, “Wait! Look at this one. See the poses of entwining bodies and gazes, the melting regard of the mother for her child, the translucent folds of cloth, the baby’s chubby legs.” It’s a perfect combination of humanity and divinity. Now, at the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, scholars, art lovers, and the public are taking a far-reaching look at his career. Exhibitions in Italy and England, as well as the largest-ever survey of his work that opens at the Louvre this fall, are celebrating the master’s achievements not only in art but also in science.
One of those exhibitions, of Leonardo’s drawings, is attracting multitudes to the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace in London. “Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing” displays the full range of Leonardo’s elastic mind at work. The main impression conveyed by “A Life in Drawing” is of a life in process, a man and mind on a continuous learning curve, endlessly observing, studying, thinking, reflecting. The drawings – more than the finished paintings – show him improvising and experimenting, much more than just recording reality.