Explore the genius of the original Renaissance Man at a permanent exhibit in one of the most fascinating new museums in the city. Tiffany Parks investigates.
Scientist, painter, inventor, and writer, Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most fascinating historical gures of all time. He was also an engineer, a musician, an astronomer, a botanist, a mathematician, an architect, and the list goes on and on. His many talents, aptitudes, and interests inspired the concept of the Renaissance Man, an artist and thinker who excels in a multitude of fields. Considered the prime exemplar of the “Universal Genius,” Da Vinci bridged the gap between the Middle Ages and the modern age, creating paintings that revolutionized art, transforming warfare with his ingenious machines, and contriving inventions that would inspire innovators for centuries to come. Even today, his works of art and projects hide elements and symbols wrapped in mystery. From his celebrated codices, made famous by Dan Brown’s best-selling thriller, to the enigmatic smile of the Mona Lisa, to inventions that were centuries before their time, the creative output of Leonardo has fascinated and intrigued curious minds for over ve centuries. On occasion of the 500th anniversary of his death, a visit to a museum dedicated entirely to his genius is certainly in order.
Leonardo Da Vinci Experience is a more than a museum, but rather an immersive, multi-dimensional world that ushers visitors into a different time and place, allowing them to discover the great artist’s life and work on a deeper level than ever before possible. Once inside, you’ll have the impression of stepping back in time to explore the master’s own studio. Designed to resemble the interior of a Renaissance palace, the museum boasts captivating details such as false windows that appear to look out over the Tuscan landscape, recreations of Leonardo’s famous codices and manuscripts, and didactic materials that bring the items displayed to life.
This multimedia journey through art, science, and engineering boasts 46 inventions created in accordance with Leonardo’s designs as well as faithful reproductions of 23 of his most famous paintings, recreated by the Bottega Artigiana Tifernate workshop. The paintings not only conform to the standards of Italy’s Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Tourism, but they were created using the exact same materials and instruments that were utilized in the originals. In addition, thematic projections, holo- grams, and educational audio enrich the experience, making the exhibition a delight for Da Vinci aficionados and neophytes alike.
The exhibition itinerary is engaging and immersive, taking place over ve thematic areas. Visitors begin in the Flight Machine Room, dedicated, as its name suggests, to Leonardo’s flying machines. During the drafting of his Codex on the Flight of Birds, Leonardo began to conceive of machines that would make human flight possible, including a prototype of the Deltaplano and the Vite Aerea, created here in wood, linen, and wire, the latter a true ancestor of the modern helicopter. This room also houses a scale reproduction of The Last Supper.
Next up, the War Machines Room contains numerous military machinery and weapons projects that were designed
in the Arundel and Atlanticus Codices. Here we discover that the revolutionary tapered bullets, the same ones the British employed in the Battle of Waterloo, were actually invented by Leonardo. Also displayed are the Catapult, designed to overcome forti ed walls, and the Bombarda, the innovative fan gun with 12 rods arranged in a semicircle that can be raised and lowered to adjust the range. You’ll also find the Camera degli Specchi, an ingenious cabin with eight mirrored walls that allows you to view an object in its entirety without having to move it.In the Hall of Perspectives, visitors can admire some of Leonardo’s most brilliant insights in the fields of optics and music, the latter being a subject he dubbed the “younger sister of painting.” Here you’ll find the Perspectograph and the Projector, machines that interact with the properties and behaviors of light, and the Double Flute, a wind instrument designed by Leonardo during his studies on the physics of sound. The Hall of Principles is dedicated to his inventions that are still used in modern life. Examine the Study of Chains and the Bicycle, a project that was only discovered in 1966 between two glued pages of the Codex Atlanticus; the Trench Digger, designed to excavate a canal that would connect the Arno River to the sea; the Webbed Glove, a precursor to modern-day flippers; the life preserver; the jack; and many more. Lastly, the Picture Gallery displays identical reproductions of Leonardo’s best-loved paintings, such as Mona Lisa, The Lady with an Ermine, The Portrait of a Musician, The Annunciation, Ecce Homo, Salvador Mundi, and both versions of The Virgin of the Rocks, all nearly indistinguishable from the originals.
Leonardo Da Vinci Experience – Via della Conciliazione, 19 Tel. 06 6833316 leonardodavincimuseo.com