The works of one of history’s greatest minds are coming to Cincinnati Museum Center. “Da Vinci – The Genius,” an interactive exhibit that showcases Leonardo da Vinci’s timeless brilliance through full-scale interpretations of his inventions and unique studies of his iconic art, opens May 20.
Most know da Vinci as the painter of the “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper.” But da Vinci was also the ultimate Renaissance man – a self-taught inventor, artist, scientist, engineer, sculptor, anatomist, biologist, musician, architect and philosopher. The Italian mastermind was viewed as a genius in his own lifetime. He conceptualized ideas that were ahead of his time, but left behind few examples of those ideas. And sadly, da Vinci never actually created many of his most inventions.
What da Vinci did leave behind, however, were his codices – notebooks of drawings and writings on a variety of subjects. Among them are blueprints for some of modern society’s most significant inventions, including the helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine and parachute.
“Da Vinci – The Genius” features 17 themed galleries with more than 200 pieces, as well as more than 70 of his life-size machine inventions, each crafted by Italian artisans using the techniques and materials of the Renaissance period. Visitors can interact with many of these exhibits for a hands-on understanding of the scientific principles behind them.
“This man universally known as an artist is now getting his due as an inventor, engineer and scientist,” said Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “This exhibit is a fun and fascinating intersection of history, science, art and technology and a perfect example of why you should always keep learning and never stop testing the limits of what’s possible.”
One of the most talked-about galleries is “Secrets of the Mona Lisa,” which showcases the findings of Pascal Cotte, a French engineer and examiner of fine art. Granted unprecedented access to “Mona Lisa” by the French government and the Louvre Museum, Cotte took the painting off the wall and out of its frame for a scientific analysis. The two-year examination revealed dozens of secrets about history’s most elusive art piece, all verified by Louvre curators. The exhibit features 25 of Cotte’s most fascinating revelations, as well as 40 high-resolution sectional images exploring every aspect of the work.
Other highlights include:
- Reproductions of “Virgin of the Rocks,” “The Annunciation” and the controversial new da Vinci discovery “Bella Principessa”
- Anatomical sketches and the preparatory drawings of the “Anghiari Battle”
- The famous fresco “The Last Supper” displayed at actual size (29 feet by 14.5 feet) with educational animation presentations
- Da Vinci’s famous “Vitruvian Man” and the Golden Ratio
- The “Sforza Horse” equestrian statue
“Da Vinci – The Genius” opens at the Cincinnati Museum Center at Union Terminal on May 20. Tickets are on sale.
513-287-7001 or cincymuseum.org/exhibits/da-vinci-the-genius