Like a true renaissance man, Leonardo da Vinci had a way of changing our perceptions of life. From his self-trained formative years to his emergence as a bona fide artist, he cultivated his legacy at such an early age and, ultimately, left a significant mark on this world. While some solely know him from his more recognisable works such as the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper, others credit da Vinci for conceptualising modern marvels like scissors, parachutes, and even tanks.
It’s probably safe to say that when it comes to the world’s most influential people – past and present, Leonardo da Vinci is one of the few people who are unanimously at the top of the list. As a matter of fact, he’s so prominent and distinguishable up to this day that he even has an online game that has been created in his honour, called da Vinci’s Diamonds.
All in all, the da Vinci effect goes beyond the realms of classical Italian art, contemporary engineering, and leisurely activities; so much so that many places around the globe also represent his ingenuity. With that, here are the most notable cities outside Italy where we can admire his masterpieces.
When talking about Leonardo da Vinci’s work outside his home country, the first city that comes up is Paris. The French capital highlights the largest collection of da Vinci paintings inside the world-famous Louvre. This includes – obviously – the Mona Lisa, La Belle Ferronniere (Portrait of an Unknown Woman), and Virgin of the Rocks (Madonna of the Rocks). In addition, the City of Lights has The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, as well as St. John the Baptist and Bacchus.
Just a little less than 2,000 kilometres northeast of Italy, Poland houses one of Leonardo da Vinci’s finest works. The Royal Castle in Krakow is not only the seat of Polish kings for more than five centuries, but also the current home of the country’s most cherished art piece: the Lady with an Ermine. Here, we see the subtlety of da Vinci’s depiction of Cecilia Gallerani, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan’s mistress.
ST. PETERSBURG, RUSSIA
Russia’s second largest city (behind Moscow) features Leonardo da Vinci’s early paintings. Aside from the various works of art by Rembrandt and Picasso, found inside the Hermitage Museum in St. Petersburg are da Vinci pieces such as the Benois Madonna and Madonna Litta.
The British Museum in London, England owns plenty of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks complete with drawings and sketches of his experimental and theoretical works. It shows his studies of the human anatomy and drafts of military machines. Also, a few paces down south from The British Museum is The National Gallery, where we can be in awe of versions of da Vinci’s St. John the Baptist, Virgin of the Rocks and The Virgin and Child with St. Anne.
WASHINGTON D.C., UNITED STATES
Washington D.C. is the only non-European city on the list, yet it still boasts an iconic Leonardo da Vinci masterwork. The National Gallery of Art has the lone da Vinci painting in the Americas called Ginevra de’ Benci. It’s simply known as the portrait of Florentine noblewoman with immaculate skin, porcelain-like details, and aloof, borderline resistant facial features.