Leonardo da Vinci drawings on loan from Britain's Royal Collection to go on display in Ireland
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Leonardo da Vinci drawings on loan from Britain's Royal Collection to go on display in Ireland

A COLLECTION of drawings by 15th century Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci is to go on display in Dublin, on loan from Britain’s Queen Elizabeth II.

The exhibition of 10 original sketches will be displayed in the National Gallery of Ireland from May 4 until July 17 – the first time the artwork has been exhibited outside of Britain.

The drawings include some of da Vinci’s famous sketches of the human body – considered some of the most advanced of the Renaissance.

Others show his depictions of cats, dogs and a dragon.

Da Vinci's pioneering studies of the human body are well-documented - he even dissected dead bodies to investigate the anatomy.

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The Royal Collection is one of the world’s most valuable art collections, with Britain’s monarchs cultivating the priceless items over the past 500 years, dating back to the reign of King Henry VIII.

The collection is not personally owned by the Queen but is held in trust to be passed down to her successor.

The historic sketches by da Vinci have been loaned out to various museums across Britain since 2002 but this marks the first time they will be displayed outside of the country.

The aim is to make the Royal Collection more accessible to the wider public.

Anne Hodge, curator of prints and paintings at the National Gallery of Ireland, said the temporary exhibition is “hugely exciting”.

“People are going to be blown away,” she added.

The exhibition will be launched by the President of Ireland, Michael D Higgins, on Wednesday.

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Admission to the exhibition is free with a pre-booked ticket, which can be ordered on the National Gallery of Ireland’s website.

See some of the highlights of the exhibition here