It’s rare to encounter a Leonardo da Vinci work in person, but you might soon be seeing them in your mailbox. The UK’s postal service, the Royal Mail, is issuing a run of stamps featuring some of the artist’s most renowned drawings to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the artist’s death.
Museums across the world are celebrating the art and legacy of the Italian painter, sculptor, architect, and engineer. The Leonardo stamp edition coincides with 12 exhibitions currently on view across the UK as part of the ambitious multi-institutional series of shows “Leonardo da Vinci: A Life in Drawing.” Each drawing on the stamps aligns with a work on view at each of the 12 galleries.
All of the works on paper are part of the Royal Collection, which has the largest and arguably most exquisite holding of drawings by the artist in the world. The works are kept inside the Print Room at Windsor Castle. Only a dozen of them are traveling for the nationwide exhibition program, which launched on February 1 and is on view until May 6.
The stamps depict several well-known works, such as (1489) and (1505–08), a study for his eventual painting of the myth of Leda, the queen of Sparta, which was the most valuable work in Leonardo’s estate when he died and was apparently destroyed around 1700. Other stamps show the artist’s studies of skeletons, joints, and cats.
“[W]e are thrilled to be working with Royal Mail on this special 12-stamp set, which invites everyone to join the celebration of Leonardo and his work in 2019,” said Martin Clayton, head of prints and drawings at the Royal Collection Trust, in a statement.
On May 24, two weeks after the series of UK exhibitions close, the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace will open a massive show of more than 200 drawings by Leonardo, which runs until October 13.