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Leonardo Live

Opening of Leonardo da Vinci exhibition to be broadcast live to cinemas and Sky Arts viewers

Issued May 2011


The National Gallery is delighted to be collaborating with Sky Arts, Picturehouse Entertainment and Seventh Art Productions on a broadcasting first. 

Leonardo Live  will see the National Gallery’s landmark exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan transmitted live to cinema-goers and Sky Arts viewers across the UK.

This pioneering simulcast seeks to give the widest possible audience the opportunity to experience this once in a lifetime exhibition.

Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan (9 November 2011 – 5 February 2012) brings together the largest ever number of Leonardo’s rare surviving paintings and will include international loans never before seen in the UK.

The 80-minute film to be broadcast on 8 November 2011 will be produced for Sky Arts by Phil Grabsky’s award-winning Seventh Art Productions. It will be presented by art historian and broadcaster Tim Marlow and brought to cinemas nationally by Picturehouse Entertainment, the distribution arm of City Screen Limited.  

'Leonardo Live' will provide a unique opportunity for art lovers to share in the excitement of viewing 'Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan' the night before it opens to the general public. 

Both the National Gallery and Sky Arts are committed to developing new audiences for the arts and to pioneering innovative and dynamic ways to present the visual arts. This project continues these ambitions.

James Hunt, Channel Director of Sky Arts says:

“We’re delighted to be able to pioneer a broadcasting first with such a phenomenal exhibition. Following the success of broadcasting the world’s first live opera earlier this year, we’re looking forward to continuing these ambitious projects that, through exciting collaborations, bring the best of the arts to new audiences in such innovative ways.”

Lyn Goleby, Managing Director of City Screen said:

“the appetite for non-film live content in cinemas is going from strength to strength. It’s great to be part of another pioneering artistic collaboration to bring the National Gallery’s landmark exhibition to a wider audience.”

The National Gallery’s exhibition 'Leonardo da Vinci: Painter at the Court of Milan' is generously sponsored by Credit Suisse.

Notes to Editors

The National Gallery

The National Gallery in Trafalgar Square houses the national collection of Western European painting from the 13th to the early 20th century.

The collection belongs to the nation and serves a diverse public from the UK and overseas. The Gallery’s key objectives are to enhance the collection, care for the collection and provide the best possible access to visitors.

Sky Arts

Sky is all about providing choice. That includes giving arts lovers the content they are passionate about, and making great arts accessible to everyone.

On-screen – Sky Arts is the only stable of television channels in the UK dedicated entirely to the arts, screening 24 hours a day, every day on Sky Arts 1, Sky Arts 2, Sky Arts 1 HD and Sky Arts 2 HD. Sky Arts also encourages new formats and methods for accessing opera; beaming the world’s first live opera in 3D to cinemas across the UK and Ireland from ENO. Highlights of the channel include Songbook, a series of one on one interviews and acoustic performances from seminal songwriters, In Confidence, an in-depth interview series and The Book Show - the first television programme in the UK dedicated solely to books.  

Online – showcases the variety of content available on Sky Arts’ channels with highlight clips, programme information and offers.

On the streets – Sky is also one of the largest corporate sponsors of arts in the UK, working with The Hay Festival and English National Ballet amongst others. Sky Arts has recently launched the Sky Arts Ignition Series, a new scheme which will seek to collaborate with six arts organisations over the next three years in the creation of brand new works. For each of the chosen projects, Sky Arts will provide cash investment of up to £200,000 and work with the arts partners to bring their projects to a wider audience.

Picturehouse Entertainment and City Screen

City Screen is the owner and operator of Picturehouse Cinemas, Britain’s largest circuit of independent cinemas. Formed in 1989 to challenge the modern multiplex, City Screen provides cinemas in city centre locations to serve local communities and offer a broader range of films.

City Screen now owns and operates 19 cinemas, with their 20th cinema, the Hackney Picturehouse, opening this autumn. City Screen also programmes for an additional 36 venues independently operated throughout the UK. The company uses over 18 years’ experience in tailoring diverse and commercially successful programmes spanning arthouse and independent features, world cinema and quality mainstream titles, as well as short films and touring seasons.

City Screen prides itself on being at the forefront of digital cinema and other business and technical developments, such as pioneering a wide variety of live cinecast events, including the screening of theatre from the National Theatre, opera from the New York Metropolitan Opera and Royal Opera House, a live performance by heavy metal giants Metallica, Slayer, Megadeth and Anthrax plus regular filmmaker Q&As.

Sister company Picturehouse Entertainment is a recently established distribution outfit that has enjoyed great success with its two releases to date: Jean Becker's 'My Afternoons with Margueritte', and the record-breaking Werner Herzog 3D documentary feature, 'Cave of Forgotten Dreams'.

Seventh Art Productions

Seventh Art Productions is one of the UK's longest-running independent production companies. Among their extensive slate of films are over 100 art films with Tim Marlow which have been key in keeping arts on British TV in the past decade. 

More recently, Seventh Art's owner Phil Grabsky has directed award-winning films for the cinema and TV including ‘In Search of Mozart’, ‘In Search of Beethoven’ and ‘The Boy Mir – Ten years in Afghanistan’ which have all played in cinemas and on TV around the world.

For further press information, please contact

National Gallery: Michelle Gonsalves  / 020 7747 2512

Sky Arts: Katherine Solomon / 020 7032 0599

Picturehouse Entertainment: Charles McDonald  / 020 7736 3445

Seventh Art Productions: Emma Love / 01273 277 759

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