Photos & Video by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media
Was this guy for real? More than 500 years ago he had already designed the first driver-less car as well as the helicopter, airplane, parachute, submarine, scuba gear, machine guns, military tanks and so much more.
He is best known for iconic paintings of the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Annunciation and Virgin on the Rocks. Now through August 25th you can meet the man Leonardo Da Vicni himself and his work through an extraordinary exhibition presented by the Sturm Family Foundation at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Born in 1452 in Anchiano, Italy near the Tuscan town of Vinci growing up without a formal education Da Vinci became an inventor, artist, scientist, anatomist, engineer, sculptor and philosopher. Although he died in 1519 Leonardo’s work and influence lives on through codices, which are books of notes and sketches, he left behind that remain the primary insight to his genius. About 6,000 pages remain.
Grande Exhibitions the creators of of “Leonardo da Vinci: 500 years of Genius” collaborated with the Museum experts from Italy and France to build Leonardo’s machine inventions and create beautiful reproductions of his codices and painting. Using Leonardo’s detailed notes the artisans had to learn an old Florentine dialect, interpret Leonardo’s shorthand and mirror writing and analyze his intricate drawings to bring Da Vinci’s machine inventions to life using the materials and techniques of 15th century Italy. Nearly 70 machines inventions are displayed at the Denver Museum of Nature & Science.
Visitors to the museum will also be able to experience a multi-sensory cinematic presentation. Grande Exhibitions’ state of art Sensory 4 technology uses high definition motion graphics and surround sound, combined with authentic photography and video footage, to saturate the space in a breathtaking display of computer generated images of Leonardo’s codices, art and inventions (see video).
Leonardo also took a scientific approach to his artwork.
He was fascinated by the mechanics of the human body as well as light, shadow and perception. Although he was part of the Italian Renaissance and created about 25 paintings, much of his work is lost. Yet his painting, “Mona Lisa,” is one of the world’s most legendary works of art.
An exclusive feature of the exhibition is “The Secrets of Mona Lisa,” an analysis of the iconic painting conducted at the Louvre by scientific engineer and photographer Pascal Cotte. The display includes super-magnified examinations, a 13-foot-high infrared print and the only 360-degree replica ever made of “Mona Lisa.”
In addition, guests can test a Leonardo-inspired catapult and create their own codex page with a self-portrait or still life. The Museum’s historical enactors will also be in the gallery, presenting characters who bring a personal perspective to the story of Leonardo.
“We are thrilled to bring Colorado the most comprehensive exhibition about Leonardo da Vinci ever created,” said George Sparks, President and CEO of the Museum. “Leonardo’s passion for furthering human understanding of the world resonates with us and reflects our commitment to being catalysts for curiosity in our community.”
“This exhibition is another great opportunity to partner with the Museum to not only share our passion for world history but also bring an enriching cultural experience about a visionary thinker to our beloved city of Denver,” said Don Sturm, chairman of the Sturm Family Foundation.
Timed tickets will be required and advance reservations strongly encouraged. Tickets are available at dmns.org/davinci or 303.370.6000. Guests pay $28.95 adult, $24.95 senior (age 65+), $20.95 junior (ages 3–18). Save $2 by booking online. Students receive 10 percent off adult admission with their ID. All tickets include general admission. Museum members receive discounted admission. An audio guide will be available for purchase.
Photos by Joe Contreras, Latin Life Denver Media