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Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman

Leonardo da Vinci: Master Draftsman

Various authors
800 pages
515 illustrations
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Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452–1519) stands as a supreme icon in Western consciousness—the very embodiment of the universal Renaissance genius. With much of his work lost or unfinished, the key to his legacy can be found in the enormous body of his extant drawings and manuscript notes. This publication offers a unified and fascinating portrait of Leonardo as a draftsman, integrating his diverse roles as an artist, scientist, inventor, theorist, and teacher. Essays written by the world's leading Leonardo scholars investigate the significant implications of Leonardo's left-handedness both for the connoisseurship of his drawings and for a reconstruction of his artistic personality; the relationship between word and image in Leonardo's drawings and manuscripts; problems of attribution and authenticity in the critical evaluation of Leonardo's graphic oeuvre; Leonardo's early drapery studies; the role of the artist's father; and the special role of drawn frames or boundaries in Leonardo's design process. Detailed descriptions of 138 individual works survey the wide variety of drawing types that Leonardo used, and also include a small group of works by artists critical to his artistic development in Florence and to his multifaceted activity in Milan. A chronological framework is also provided to shed light on his extraordinary life and career.

Met Art in Publication

Le Vite de' Piv Eccellenti Pittori Scultori et Architettori..., Giorgio Vasari  Italian, Woodcut illlustrations
Giorgio Vasari
Fasciculo di medicina, Johannes de Ketham  German, Woodcut
Johannes de Ketham
February 5, 1493 [modern style, 1494]
Compositional Sketches for the Virgin Adoring the Christ Child, with and without the Infant St. John the Baptist; Diagram of a Perspectival Projection (recto); Slight Doodles (verso), Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Silverpoint, partly reworked by the artist with pen and dark brown ink on pink prepared paper; lines ruled with metalpoint (recto); pen and brown ink (verso)
Leonardo da Vinci
Studies for the Libyan Sibyl (recto); Studies for the Libyan Sibyl and a small Sketch for a Seated Figure (verso), Michelangelo Buonarroti  Italian, Red chalk, with small accents of white chalk on the left shoulder of the figure in the main study (recto); soft black chalk, or less probably charcoal (verso)
Michelangelo Buonarroti
ca. 1510–11
Head of a Man in Profile Facing to the Left, Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Pen and brown ink, over soft black chalk
Leonardo da Vinci
The Head of a Grotesque Man in Profile Facing Right, Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Pen and brown ink, on off-white paper (now darkened)
Leonardo da Vinci
after 1500
Il Modo de temperare le Penne..., Ludovico Arrighi  Italian, Woodcuts
Ludovico Arrighi
The Head of a Woman in Profile Facing Left, Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio  Italian, Silverpoint and leadpoint, highlighted with white gouache, on pale blue-gray (indigo) prepared paper. Media tested by the Department of Scientific Research, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, with x-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) and fiber optics reflectance spectroscopy (FORS); October 1, 2019.
Giovanni Antonio Boltraffio
Measured Drawing of a Horse Facing Left (recto), Andrea del Verrocchio  Italian, Pen and dark brown ink, over traces of black chalk
Andrea del Verrocchio
ca. 1480–88
Study for the Equestrian Monument to Francesco Sforza, Antonio Pollaiuolo  Italian, Pen and brown ink, light and dark brown wash; outlines of the horse and rider pricked for transfer.
Antonio Pollaiuolo
early to mid 1480s
Francesco Sforza (1401–1466), Fourth Duke of Milan (r. 1450–66), Candoglia marble, Italian, Milan
late 15th century
Sketches of Figures of the Virgin Kneeling, Saint Peter Standing, Seated Allegorical Figures of Faith and Charity, and Child Standing on a Corbel (?) (recto); Sketches of Figures of Saint Sebastian Standing and the Virgin and Child with Angels (verso), Francesco di Simone Ferrucci  Italian, Pen and brown ink, over leadpoint or black chalk, on rose-washed paper
Francesco di Simone Ferrucci
A Bear Walking, Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, silverpoint on light buff prepared paper
Leonardo da Vinci
ca. 1482–85
Two Grotesque Heads, Anonymous, Netherlandish, 17th century  Netherlandish, Etching; only state
Anonymous, Netherlandish, 17th century
Saint Jerome in the Wilderness, Antonio Rossellino  Italian, Marble, Italian, Florence
Antonio Rossellino
ca. 1470
De Re Militari (On the Military Arts), Roberto Valturio  Italian, Printed book with 82 woodcut illustrations impressed by hand; illuminated initials and descriptive captions also added by hand
Roberto Valturio
Allegory on the Fidelity of the Lizard (recto); Design for a Stage Setting (verso), Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Pen and brown ink (recto and verso)
Leonardo da Vinci
Divina proportione, Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Book with woodcut illustrations
Leonardo da Vinci
June 1, 1509
Studies for Hercules Holding a Club Seen in Frontal View, Male Nude Unsheathing a Sword, and the Movements of Water (Recto); Study for Hercules Holding a Club Seen in Rear View (Verso), Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Pen and brown ink; soft black chalk or charcoal (recto); soft black chalk or charcoal (verso)
Leonardo da Vinci
ca. 1506–8
The Head of the Virgin in Three-Quarter View Facing Right, Leonardo da Vinci  Italian, Black chalk, charcoal, and red chalk, with some traces of white chalk (?); some remains of framing outline in pen and brown ink at upper right (not by Leonardo)
Leonardo da Vinci
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View Citations

Leonardo, Carmen Bambach, Rachel Stern, and Alison Manges. 2003. Leonardo Da Vinci, Master Draftsman. New York : New Haven: Metropolitan Museum of Art ; Yale University Press.