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Last Updated: Friday, 9 May, 2003, 09:33 GMT 10:33 UK
Leonardo drawings go on show
Leonardo exhibition at Buckingham Palace
The exhibition focuses on his approach to the human form

The world's finest collection of Leonardo da Vinci's drawings opens at Buckingham Palace on Friday.

Leonardo da Vinci: The Divine And The Grotesque features more than 70 detailed pen-and-ink and chalk sketches by the Renaissance master.

They illustrate his obsession with the human form, and his fascination with the contrast between beauty and ugliness.

The works, which date from 1490 to 1519, also include studies for his masterpiece The Last Supper.

It's rather fascinating to see the creator of the Mona Lisa and great scientific projects also being playful
Martin Clayton, exhibition director

Leonardo's eye for beauty is apparent with images such as The Head Of Leda - a delicate portrait of a young woman.

Among the sketches is a comical picture of the face of an ugly old woman, and a man having his palm read by gypsies - one of whom is picking his pocket.

Martin Clayton, who is in charge of the show, said it was the first time an exhibition had concentrated on Leonardo's approach to the human body and how the image could be distorted.

"It's rather fascinating to see the creator of the Mona Lisa and great scientific projects also being playful," he said.

The works will be on display at the palace until 9 November.

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