Genius of Leonardo spans the ages

PUBLISHED : Friday, 29 October, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 29 October, 2010, 12:00am

Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) was best known as a master artist during the Renaissance period in Europe.

However, he was much more than a painter, and showed interest in architecture, anatomy, flight, hydraulics, civil engineering and war machines.

Hongkongers have a chance to learn more about da Vinci's multifaceted genius at an exhibition called 'Marvellous Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci', which runs at the Hong Kong Science Museum until February 9. Jointly presented by the museum and the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, the exhibition features more than 80 exhibits depicting the life of the artist, his ingenious creativity and brilliance in science.

Da Vinci wrote left-handed, from right to left, and his script could only be read in a mirror's reflection.

On his death, da Vinci left many manuscripts that were difficult to read and understand and his genius was only realised in the 17th century, when scholars were able to collect and organise his writings. More than 50 of the exhibits are interactive mechanical models reconstructed from the drawings and notes contained in the artist's codices.

They are divided into four fields: war, flight, hydraulics and civil machines.

The mechanised models were developed by Teknoart's artisans with assistance from the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci and the collaboration of leading academics in Italy who had spent years of study of da Vinci's life and works.

The exhibition also features replicas of the codices, a video about the life of da Vinci, computer-generated animations of the models, and 16 full-scale replicas of his most famous paintings, including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.