Saturday, November 24, 2012

True Genius - da Vinci in Venice

While we didn't make much time for museums in Venice (perhaps a combination of our budget and already having been to some amazing museums), but one we couldn't pass up was an exhibition on Leonardo da Vinci designed with the purpose of bringing his inventions to life.

360 degree mirror da Vinci used for working on perspective

The organ in the church


Housed inside the small Church of San Barnaba, the collection of machines made from his sketches is both intriguing and amazing. The wooden models, some of which are interactive, range from ball-bearings to bicycles to tanks  to helicopters to double-hulled boats. Each model is placed beside a reproduction of the original sketch, making it all the more interesting. In addition to the models, prints of some of his most famous sketches, sculptures, and paintings adorn the walls. 

A column lifter - simple but brilliant

One of the many designs for a flying machine

One of the first designs for ball bearings

A flying machine and a bicycle

 
When walking around looking at what he accomplished in his life it's easy to be blown away. Besides creating some of the most famous pieces of art in the world (The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Vitruvian Man) and creating designs for machines that wouldn't be built for hundreds of years (he lived from 1452 to 1519), he also was an accomplished botanist, came up with a rudimentary theory of how plate tectonics worked, made extensive inroads into the world of anatomy, wrote music and novels, and even created incredibly accurate maps. 

An incredibly accurate map of Imola, Italy (via)

A self-portrait of the man himself (via)

The Vitruvian Man (via)


No matter what your interests, you can't help but be impressed. Even though the museum is small and simple, it has enough to occupy visitors of all ages for hours upon end. You can find it by looking for the Chiesa di San Barbara, and entry is 8 euro per person.

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Calli and Travis returned from a four month trip through Europe more excited than ever to hit the open road. Who knows where they'll end up next...

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