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How the Louvre’s Leonardo Blockbuster Shows a Master’s Progress

The New York Times – Eight highlights from the exhibition plot Leonardo da Vinci’s trajectory as an artist and show the breadth of his talents. “No institution in the world owns more Leonardo da Vincis than the Louvre. There are five paintings in its collections — including, most famously, the Mona Lisa, which the Renaissance artist had with him, along with two other masterpieces, when he died in France in 1519. To mark the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, the Louvre is staging a retrospective featuring some 160 works. The blockbuster show, which opens on Thursday and runs through Feb. 24, is one of the most ambitious surveys ever of the artist’s work. On display are eight paintings by Leonardo (plus the Mona Lisa, which remains in her usual, mobbed gallery upstairs but can be seen with the same exhibition ticket). The exhibition also contains 22 drawings from the Louvre’s own collection, and paintings and drawings from institutions such as the Vatican Museums, the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, the Royal Collection and the National Gallery in Britain, the State Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg, and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Objects drawn from private collections include the “Codex Leicester,” a set of scientific writings owned by Bill Gates…”

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