Study sheet with cats dragon and other animals - by Leonardo da Vinci

This exceptional sheet of studies, mainly of cats, is from Leonardo's last years. It is known that he was suffering from ailments which partially paralyzed him, but his drawings are as lively and fresh as the ones he did when he was a much younger man. These pictures, dated around 1515, are in pen, ink and wash over black chalk. They show the remarkable variety of cat movements and are similar to another sheet showing the movement of horses. The studies show cats and kittens playing, one cat with its fur erect, and cats stalking, washing and sleeping. It is obvious that these are all drawn from direct observation and that Leonardo's speed and skill of drawing survived despite his advancing years. The liveliness and freshness of these magnificent sketches reveal that artistically the power of youth persisted; one cannot fail to be delighted by the brilliant sense of movement and life in these drawings.

It is also very interesting to see how the drawing of the dragon, by using the analysis of the movement seen in the cats, suggests the powerful movement of this mythical creature.