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 Da Vinci – The Exhibition ******

The Venetian Hotel and Casino Da Vinci – The Genius is a travelling exhibition, first of its kind on such a grand scale, presenting the life and work of one of the most creative and intelligent people known to have ever walked this Earth. Leonardo da Vinci literally means Leonardo of (from) Vinci, which was the place of his birth, but for the purpose of this review I will treat it like any other surname, which will probably prove more pleasing to the eye than using his first name in every sentence. I hope you will forgive me this little liberty… Da Vinci’s versatility never ceases to amaze each generation to come: he was a painter, a sculptor, an inventor, an engineer, an architect, an anatomist, a botanist and a musician: to mention only the most important of his areas of interest. And in each of these professions he was not merely efficient or competent, but on the top of the game. He was a pioneer in many of those fields, like for example aerodynamics, often experimented with innovative (and not always successful) painting techniques and is rumored to perform numerous, at that time illegal, autopsies to better understand the workings of the human body, which resulted in some extremely significant anatomical discoveries. This exposition allows us to admire Leonardo mostly from the side of a brilliant inventor. He has left some 600 pages of his mirror-handwritten notes, some with detailed drawings, which in turn permitted the organizers to build many of his most spectacular and meaningful inventions. And so, with the utmost bafflement, one has to acknowledge that Leonardo created prototypes for pretty much all kinds of machines and devices that we take for granted nowadays, but which were the height of fantastic insanity 500 years ago. To those belong the parachute, the helicopter, the plane, the car, diving equipment, the tank or even the machine gun. As much as Da Vinci is famous for his humanistic approach to life, art and science, incidentally he did have a rather practical side as well, and is responsible for inventing an astonishing number of military equipment devised to cause death and destruction. A lot of the above- mentioned recreated designs are interactive, meaning that the visitors can put them into motion to see for themselves the principles behind their functioning. Of course most of the machines have come a very long way from the original contraptions contrived by Leonardo, but some of his engineering improvements remain almost unchanged to this day and are the base of modern mechanics. As already mentioned, this exhibition concentrates mostly on demonstrating the genius of Da Vinci, the inventor. If you are more inclined to explore him as an artist, however, you can also do that to some, unfortunately more limited, degree. Some of his paintings are displayed on interactive screens, where you can admire them as well as learn a few important facts concerning their origins or place of current residence.  A truly rare and fascinating gem of the collection is the in-depth study of Da Vinci’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, undertaken by Pascal Cotte. On greatly magnified pictures the scientist analyzes the original colors of the paint used to create the masterpiece and how they changed or faded over the centuries. There are more than a dozen intriguing discoveries he has made that nobody has ever been aware of until now, such as the mystery behind Mona Lisa’s missing eyelashes. Very interesting was also the film about Leonardo’s world- renowned mural painting, “The Last Supper”. During the screening one can discover, for example, why the apostles where placed around Jesus as they were and what was the deeper meaning behind their gestures or facial expressions. This is certainly an exhibit every Renaissance lover should see. I would recommend to plan about 2 hrs, maybe even longer, to fully enjoy the experience. Naturally you do not need to stay that long, I have seen visitors breeze through in 15 minutes, but then you will not even be able to take in a tenth of the magnificent pieces on display, a pity as it might prevent you in fully comprehending what a true, incomparable genius Leonardo really was.

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 Da Vinci – The Exhibition ******

The Venetian Hotel and Casino Da Vinci – The Genius is a travelling exhibition, first of its kind on such a grand scale, presenting the life and work of one of the most creative and intelligent people known to have ever walked this Earth. Leonardo da Vinci literally means Leonardo of (from) Vinci, which was the place of his birth, but for the purpose of this review I will treat it like any other surname, which will probably prove more pleasing to the eye than using his first name in every sentence. I hope you will forgive me this little liberty… Da Vinci’s versatility never ceases to amaze each generation to come: he was a painter, a sculptor, an inventor, an engineer, an architect, an anatomist, a botanist and a musician: to mention only the most important of his areas of interest. And in each of these professions he was not merely efficient or competent, but on the top of the game. He was a pioneer in many of those fields, like for example aerodynamics, often experimented with innovative (and not always successful) painting techniques and is rumored to perform numerous, at that time illegal, autopsies to better understand the workings of the human body, which resulted in some extremely significant anatomical discoveries. This exposition allows us to admire Leonardo mostly from the side of a brilliant inventor. He has left some 600 pages of his mirror-handwritten notes, some with detailed drawings, which in turn permitted the organizers to build many of his most spectacular and meaningful inventions. And so, with the utmost bafflement, one has to acknowledge that Leonardo created prototypes for pretty much all kinds of machines and devices that we take for granted nowadays, but which were the height of fantastic insanity 500 years ago. To those belong the parachute, the helicopter, the plane, the car, diving equipment, the tank or even the machine gun. As much as Da Vinci is famous for his humanistic approach to life, art and science, incidentally he did have a rather practical side as well, and is responsible for inventing an astonishing number of military equipment devised to cause death and destruction. A lot of the above- mentioned recreated designs are interactive, meaning that the visitors can put them into motion to see for themselves the principles behind their functioning. Of course most of the machines have come a very long way from the original contraptions contrived by Leonardo, but some of his engineering improvements remain almost unchanged to this day and are the base of modern mechanics. As already mentioned, this exhibition concentrates mostly on demonstrating the genius of Da Vinci, the inventor. If you are more inclined to explore him as an artist, however, you can also do that to some, unfortunately more limited, degree. Some of his paintings are displayed on interactive screens, where you can admire them as well as learn a few important facts concerning their origins or place of current residence.  A truly rare and fascinating gem of the collection is the in-depth study of Da Vinci’s most famous painting, the Mona Lisa, undertaken by Pascal Cotte. On greatly magnified pictures the scientist analyzes the original colors of the paint used to create the masterpiece and how they changed or faded over the centuries. There are more than a dozen intriguing discoveries he has made that nobody has ever been aware of until now, such as the mystery behind Mona Lisa’s missing eyelashes. Very interesting was also the film about Leonardo’s world-renowned mural painting, “The Last Supper”. During the screening one can discover, for example, why the apostles where placed around Jesus as they were and what was the deeper meaning behind their gestures or facial expressions. This is certainly an exhibit every Renaissance lover should see. I would recommend to plan about 2 hrs, maybe even longer, to fully enjoy the experience. Naturally you do not need to stay that long, I have seen visitors breeze through in 15 minutes, but then you will not even be able to take in a tenth of the magnificent pieces on display, a pity as it might prevent you in fully comprehending what a true, incomparable genius Leonardo really was.
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