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A Maiden with a Unicorn (Late 1470s)


Image © The Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Oxford; Used with permission

Leonardo da Vinci (Italian, 1452-1519). A Maiden with a Unicorn (Late 1470s). Brown ink on paper. 9.4 x 7.4 cm.

© The Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Oxford
In A Maiden with a Unicorn (late 1470s), Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) drew a woman seated in three-quarter profile with a horned mythical beast resting beside her. With the imaginary unicorn's front legs tucked beneath him, the leashed animal (tamed only by the touch of a virgin) placidly rests. This rarely seen work on paper joins others by the master and his contemporaries in an exhibition that examines how Renaissance artists were influenced by Leonardo and scholars have interpreted some of the genius' works.

"Imagining Leonardo" is on view from August 9 to November 5, 2006 at The Ashmolean Museum of Art & Archaeology, Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2PH, England (Telephone: 01865-278000; Website). The museum is open Tuesday to Saturday from 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM and Sunday from 12:00 Noon to 5:00 PM. Admission is free.

For further reading:

Bambach, Carmen C. (ed.). Leonardo da Vinci,
Master Draftsman
(exh. cat.).
New York: The Metropolitan Museum of Art, 2003.

Clayton, Martin. Leonardo da Vinci: The Divine and
the Grotesque
(exh. cat.).
London: The Royal Collection, 2004.


From your Guide: Stan Parchin, Senior Correspondent for Museums and Special Exhibitions, is a specialist in ancient, late-medieval and Renaissance art and history, and a regular contributor to About Art History. You may read all of his Special Exhibition and Catalogue Reviews here.
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