Leonardo da Vinci Exhibit in St. Petersburg

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October 27, 2011 – Technical inventions of renaissance genius are on display in the Artillery Museum: you are welcome to come with children and see, touch, and take pictures. The interactive exhibition runs through the January 10, 2012.

The multiple talents of the ultimate Renaissance man and one of the art world’s most mysterious figures are now on display at the Artillery Museum, including fascinating machines built using sketches made by Leonardo da Vinci for inventions that until recently remained on paper. Visitors will get a chance not only to see many of the devices but also to touch them and even take pictures of them (without a flash). The exhibition is extremely educative.

Leonardo da Vinci foresaw the invention of both the clock, the automobile, wooden tank (compact wooden machine equipped with cannons which was designed to cause mass destruction) and parachute as far back as the 15th century. The most fascinating invention created by da Vinci is scuba diving equipment. His proposed application for diving equipment was to defend territories from enemies underwater.

To the surprise of many visitors, the war inventions are placed with more beautiful works of art which are also featured in the exhibition: A replica of The Mona Lisa hangs in the middle of the hall. Unlike in the Louvre, however, where the original is kept, visitors can see both the front and back of the iconic masterpiece. Numerous close-ups of the Mona Lisa‘s smile, hands, and eyes are on display, with the aim of showing how the project developed and changed in the artist’s mind; photos from a camera also reveals the original pigment colors of the painting.

We owe this wonderful exhibition to the Italian expert Modesto Veccia, curator of Il Genio di Leonardo da Vinci Museum in Italy. Along with a group of colleagues, Veccia analyzed about 6,000 pages of Leonardo’s manuscripts – a task that was even more challenging than it was time-consuming – Leonardo da Vinci deliberately made mistakes in some of his designs in order to stop them from being stolen, and besides this the artist / inventor was famous for his mirror writing, perhaps another way of safeguarding his inventions. Veccia managed to unravel the artist’s complex designs. On their basis, 120 different machines and devices were eventually created and put on display for your enjoyment.