Muscarelle Preps for Last Weekend of da Vinci Exhibit is your source for free news and information in Williamsburg, James City & York Counties.

The never-before-exhibited self portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci from his Codex on the Flight of Birds. (Photo courtesy Muscarelle Museum of Art)
The never-before-exhibited self portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci from his Codex on the Flight of Birds. (Photo courtesy Muscarelle Museum of Art)

Time is running out to see the works of a renaissance master in the Historic Triangle.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Idea of Beauty, an art exhibit featuring works by the 15th century Italian artist, is scheduled to close its run at the Muscarelle Museum of Art April 5.

The exhibit features more than 30 original works by da Vinci and his contemporary, Michelangelo, including a never-before-displayed self-portrait of da Vinci, and traces da Vinci’s artistic approach to beauty and ugliness throughout his career.

“There is nowhere else in the world where one can go and see thirty drawings by the great Leonardo — and to then be able to view contrasting drawings by Michelangelo with which to compare — is simply impossible,” Aaron De Groft said in a news release. “We hope those who have not visited — or those who want another look at these amazing works — will come see the show in the days remaining.”

The exhibition’s da Vinci pieces are on loan from the Uffizi museum in Florence and the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, and include more than 20 of da Vinci’s works, and eight from his artistic contemporary and rival, Michelangelo. The eight Michelangelo pieces are on loan from the Casa Buonarroti in Florence.

Some of the more notable pieces include da Vinci’s Study for the Head of an Angel for the Madonna of the Rocks, and the Codex of the Flight of the Birds.

The codex — a series of manuscript pages held together by stitching — includes a newly-discovered self-portrait of da Vinci at the age of 53, which is on display in the United States for the first time.

The Muscarelle exhibition was the first of two scheduled venues in the U.S. for the pieces. At the conclusion of its Williamsburg run, the exhibit will travel to the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston. The Boston exhibition is scheduled to be held April 15 through June 14.

The da Vinci exhibit is the latest in a series of Italian-themed shows at the Muscarelle that have brought record attendance to the museum, located on the Campus of the College of William & Mary. The 2013 exhibit Michelangelo: Sacred and Profane attracted more than 25,000 paid visitors. The museum expects to top that figure with the da Vinci exhibit.

The current Muscarelle exhibit is unique for its juxtaposition of da Vinci’s work — which often contrasts between “beautiful” and “ugly” depictions of the human form — with Michelangelo’s typical representation of the body in an idealized state.

The City of Williamsburg, James City and York counties partnered with the Greater Williamsburg Chamber & Tourism Alliance for a joint advertising campaign for the exhibit, with the city supplying $50,000, and the counties contributing $10,000 apiece.

Beginning in February, the Alliance commenced a six-week radio campaign in the Washington, D.C. area to advertise the exhibit to out-of-town visitors. De Groft said the museum’s previous Italian exhibits drew 30 to 35 percent of their total attendance from outside the region.

The Alliance also paid for online advertisements to appear in the D.C. area for search terms including da Vinci, the Renaissance and art, along with a Facebook advertising campaign.

The museum is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. through Sunday. Guided tours of the exhibition are scheduled for 1 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.

Tickets cost $15 for the general public. Admission is free to members of the museum, children under 12, William & Mary students, faculty and staff.

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