It Rained….. So An Afternoon of Culture was Called For


It rained yesterday afternoon, something of a rare occurrence this year.

It did though give us the opportunity to head to Derby Museum and Art Gallery. It may not be the biggest Art Gallery but it still has some really wonderful paintings. The Joseph Wright Gallery always gets my attention, a Derby painter Joseph Wright (1734-1797), is perhaps most famous for his painting of the ‘Philosophers Lecture at the Orrery.  Justifiably it always draws a crowd.  I never tier of gazing at it…. BUT today the visit was for an temporary exhibition of an Artist very much older.


 Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 and died on the 2nd May 1519.

 To mark the 500th anniversary Derby has been hosting one of the special Exhibition of his work. All the images have been loaned by Her Majesty the Queen from the Royal Collection.


It is rather remarkable that these drawings, sketches, are still able to be viewed after more than 500 year’s since da Vinci created them. We are told quill pen and ‘homemade inks’ from vegetable and animal materials were used.

What surprised me was the small size of these drawings.  Luckily the display allowed you a close view….even magnifying glasses were provide to better facility examination of the fine detail and fine detail it really is. Naturally lighting is restricted to protect the delicate images… maybe that added to the thrill of seeing these originals.

Famous for his anatomical dissections, which do require time and close study to truly appreciate the artist skill, there is a varied selection of other works

 But of all my favourite is Hercules and his Chariot, all action and something different to take your eye in each area of the drawing…


Perhaps the most appropriate for an afternoon when it rained, as well as the current throw-away world we live in, is this one…


A Cloudburst of Material Possesions

So old yet all still relevant today…. and so lucky to be able to see a select few from the vast portfolio of da Vinci work here in our own Art Gallery (even though the Exhibition is temporary).


3rd May

(C) David Oakes 2019



7 thoughts on “It Rained….. So An Afternoon of Culture was Called For

  1. “…so lucky to be able to see a select few from the vast portfolio of da Vinci work here in our own Art Gallery” — indeed! I also count myself lucky to see these photos you shared with us here—thanks so much, David!

    It’s so different to see these works first-hand, compared to seeing them on a book’s pages, like the one I have of da Vinci by Martin Kemp. 🙂 I also love that iconic portrait of Da Vinci in Martin Clayton’s book. ❤

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    • Indeed it was great to see these originals, hard to describe that feeling of seeing a real bit of history. I have to be honest though…I think anyone seriously studying da Vinci and his many works, that the book is probably the best way to be able to search out the detail. The quality of reproduction and the fact that you have the image with you is a very big help. It still doesn’t take away the thrill of being able to view, so close, for oneself. There was tangible excitement in the gallery yesterday from the visitors 🙂


      • Right, for any learner a book would be the best way to search out the detail. But it’s a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get to see the originals! You’re lucky to be in the right place at the right time! 🙂

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  2. I have seen them on TV in a program about Da Vinci. This reporter took us all the way from his birth to his death. Very nice. Especially the anatomy. He worked in a cellar under a hospital where dead people were laid in a kind of bath tub. It was the coolest place but even then he had to hurry as the temperatures were too high and a body decays rapidly in the Italian heat. Thank you forshowing these. It completes the documentary. 😀


    • I guess the recurring memory of the exhibition is just how small these sketches are, barely A4. It is that size detail I hadn’t appreciated from documentaries and books. 🤔


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