Review: The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition

“Discover the Da Vinci in you”

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When one thinks of who personifies genius, several people come to mind: Albert Einstein, Isaac Newton, Galileo Galilei, and Charles Darwin. But that list is far from complete without the name of at least one man, Leonardo Da Vinci. He was an artist who left behind numerous drawings, but few paintings. Even though he may be, in the minds of many, best known for his paintings, he painted less than two dozen works and most are incomplete. While not a prolific painter, he was a productive and creative scientist, engineer, architect, mathematician, and inventor.

The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition from the Museum of Leonardo DaVinci in Florence, Italy emphasizes the engineer and inventor side of Leonardo. It contains more than sixty hand-built replicas of his designs, some of which he built and others he only laid out on paper. All of the working replicas are the result of the meticulous work of Florentine artisans who, employing great care and accuracy, have brought to life Leonardo’s inventions that previously only existed on paper.

Unfortunately, this traveling exhibit, which I came across by accident while walking down the 16th Street Mall, only stays in Denver until March 31st, 2013. This is a busy time of year for most of us, but it will be worth an hour or two for you to wander through this exhibit.

You will be left asking yourself, how did he do all of this in one lifetime? That is for you and the scholars who still intently study Da Vinci’s life to this day to figure out. Not only are you left wondering how did he accomplish such a volume of work, but how did he have such intense interest across such a broad array of subjects?

The sixty or so replicas–many are interactive–are grouped according to their respective uses: war machines, flying machines, nautical and hydraulic machines and machines that demonstrate the fundamentals of mechanics. He is responsible for many of he ground-breaking inventions and invention improvements that we take for granted today: ball bearings, differentials, gliders, parachutes and other flying machines, tanks (the army kind), bicycles, double-hulled ships, and many others.

If you are interested in engineering, science, history, art, or just want to understand more of how modern science and modern life came to be, you will want to visit this interesting and engaging display. But don’t be like Leonardo Da Vinci and procrastinate (something he had a reputation for), because by the end of this year it’s gone to another city. So take a day, take your lunch hour, take something, but take yourself to the The Da Vinci Machines Exhibition on Denver’s 16th Street Mall.

About Bloice Davison

Bloice C. Davison, III blogs, travels occasionally, and takes pictures. He has experience in the telecommunications, banking, retailing and outside sales businesses. He is a former fly-fishing guide and fly-fishing instructor for the Orvis Company. He served as an Aircraft Maintenance Specialist in the United States Air Force. A 1988 graduate of Virginia Tech, he also has a BS in statistics from the Metropolitan State College of Denver.

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