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Leonardo da Vinci drawings coming to L.A., accompanied by Bill Viola

November 9, 2009 | 11:36 am

Angel It's not often that artwork by Leonardo da Vinci makes the journey to Los Angeles. But in December, three drawings by the Renaissance master will go on display at L.A.'s Italian Cultural Institute along with a video installation by Bill Viola.

Leonardo's "The Angel in the Flesh," pictured, dates from around 1515 and was produced by the artist in Amboise, France. It depicts a smiling, androgynous figure in the process of lifting its right arm in salutation. This marks the first time that "Angel" will be shown in the U.S., according to Francesca Valente, who is organizing the exhibition.

Also part of the show are two sketches from Leonardo's "The Theatre Sheet," which is believed to have been created around 1506 to 1508. The two fragments are figure studies for a stage set of Angelo Poliziano’s "Orpheus." The drawings come from "The Mind of Leonardo," a recent exhibition at the National Museum of Palazzo Venezia in Rome.

Video artist Viola will present his 2002 work "The Last Angel" as part of the show. The installation features slow-motion imagery of an angelic figure in water, accompanied by an original soundtrack. Viola is scheduled to appear in person on Dec. 2 to present his work in a discussion with author Carlo Pedretti, who is a Leonardo scholar and UCLA Professor Emeritus.

The exhibition will run Dec. 2-12.

-- David Ng

Photo: Detail from Leonardo da Vinci's "The Angel in the Flesh." Credit: Istituto Italiano di Cultura

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