17 August 2007

At last, a good reason to go to Brussels!

Leonardo da Vinci
Belgium is a great destination to visit from Antwerp, Bruges & Ghent in the north-west to the Ardennes in the south-east..... but Brussels has always been the weak link. Pity, cos that's where the train goes!

Now, finally (and sadly, temporarily) there's something for real visitors (ie not politicians or business folk) to do in Brussels other than watching that silly little statue peeing into a pond, stretch out a coffee at one of the cafes in the Grand Place, and peer up at the Atomium (I did that once, sometime around 1969!).

Opening tomorrow for 7 months, as part of the celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of the Treaty of Rome, is a seriously major exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci's works including the Codex of the Flight of Birds, on loan from the Turin Library, as well as Leonardo's only self-portrait in red chalk and the Tongerlo Copy after Leonardo's Last Supper, painted barely 20 years after Leonardo completed the original, and reputed to be the most accurate copy of the subsequently damaged fresco.

A portrait painted on a wooden panel of Marie Magdalene will also be on show, for the second time ever after it was first revealed to the world as a Leonardo at Ancona's Mole Vanvitelliana museum in October 2005.

The exhibition will also feature facsimiles of Da Vinci's notebooks, several of his inventions, films about the artist’s universal genius, and no fewer than 45 working models built to scale, including a 20 metre swing bridge never previously constructed.

And to finish it off, they are looking at his influences and influence on European art, so there will also be around one hundred original drawings and sketches by Raphael, Michelangelo, Canaletto, Albrecht Dürer and Hieronymus Bosch!

Better book your tickets now before Eurostar starts to fill up.

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