Leonardo da Vinci possessed one of the greatest minds in human history. His curiosity knew no bounds: he was a polymath, excelling at painting, invention, sculpture, medicine, botany, architecture, music, astronomy, archaeology, paleontology. Da Vinci was the ultimate humanist Renaissance man; a master of everything he turned his hand to. He produced masterpiece after masterpiece: Mona Lisa, the Vitruvian Man, The Creation of Adam, The Last Supper. Five centuries after his birth, we still think of him as a one of the greatest talents ever to have lived.
South Kensington's Science Museum have mounted a major exhibition, celebrating Da Vinci's technical ingenuity. The artist created a remarkable body of mechanical drawings that showed a revolutionary approach to the challenges of flight, manufacturing and war.
The Mechanics of a Genius turns these designs from drawings into three dimensional objects, bringing to life da Vinci's five-hundred year old plans and demonstrating his eerily advanced understanding of engineering.
The exhibition suffers from a confusing, slightly crowded layout. Interactive game-stations beep loudly, while the fact that each exhibit is translated into 3 different languages annoys the eye.
Nevertheless, it is fascinating to wander through one of the greatest minds we have ever known.
We particularly loved da Vinci's flying machines, or 'ornithopters'. Obsessed with aviation, the artist would follow around bats and birds, seeking to understand and replicate their aviation. His designs have the pilot lying facedown on a kind of board, pedalling a pulley system which would power the kite-like wings. Da Vinci also designed the first ever parachute and diving suit - both of which are on display. The fact that these designs were dreamt up 500 years ago is eerily uncanny.
|What||Leonardo da Vinci: The Mechanics of Genius, Science Museum|
|Where||Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London, SW7 2DD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||South Kensington (underground)|
10 Feb 16 – 04 Sep 16, 10.00–18.00, last entry 17.15
|Price||£10 £7 Concessions|
|Website||Click here for more information|