History and Origins
Inventor, artist, scientist, engineer, sculptor, anatomist, biologist, musician, architect, philosopher... Leonardo da Vinci was all of these things and more.

Leonardo was the ultimate multi-tasker, the ultimate ideas man and the ultimate Renaissance man. He studied, experimented, discovered, conceptualised and communicated on an almost incomprehensible range of topics during his life from 1452 - 1519. Born out of wedlock and thus not afforded a formal education like his peers, Leonardo was largely self taught. He pledged to himself from an early age “to learn all there is to learn” and to challenge through experimentation and application of sound scientific principles everything that had been learnt before him.

The unfortunate reality is Leonardo left behind very few tangible examples of his theories, most of which never travel; they’re either locked away or on permanent display in a small number of esteemed museums around the world.

Leonardo’s legacy of genius is preserved primarily in his codices; tiny notebooks of categorised drawings and writings on a multitude of subjects. Unravelling the mysteries of these codices and bringing to life the inventions, ideas and philosophies of this great man is essentially the journey of the Da Vinci -The Genius exhibition. This is not an exhibit of original artefacts; Leonardo never actually produced the majority of what he designed, what little remains has failed the test of time. This exhibition provides a tangible and easy to understand exploration into the diversity of ideas that consumed arguably the greatest mind the world has ever known.

The idea of Da Vinci - The Genius was conceived in 2006 in Melbourne Australia, where Grande Exhibitions - creators of traveling exhibitions held a small scale exhibit of Leonardo’s machine inventions for the first time outside of Europe. Although visitors were intrigued by these machine inventions, two things became evident as the exhibit progressed. Firstly, there was so much more to offer in the gamut of Leonardo’s studies, and secondly an exhibition had never been created which explored the full range of his genius.

In the year following the first small Melbourne exhibit, the founder of Grande Exhibitions, Bruce Peterson, relocated his office and family to Italy in order work closely with Il Genio di Leonardo da Vinci Museo, laying the foundations of the comprehensive exhibition we see today. During this time the group also teamed with Pascal Cotte to integrate into the exhibition his revolutionary scientific examination of The Mona Lisa; the subsequent findings of which were sanctioned by the Louvre Museum. Ironically Cotte’s work was a perfect fit to Da Vinci - The Genius, blending art, science and culture, exactly as Leonardo had done some 500 years ago.
Exhibition Themes
A new addition to the traveling exhibition is the “Secrets of Mona Lisa” display. French scientific engineer and photographer of fine art, Pascal Cotte was granted unprecedented access by the French Government and The Louvre Museum to conduct an extensive scientific evaluation of this masterpiece. He did so under strict security and supervision, taking her out of her frame and away from the protective glass enclosure. His photographic examination and findings have startled the art world – making 25 revelations including identifying her original pigment colours, proving she indeed did have eyebrows and eyelashes and producing the world’s only 360 ° walk around replica. The key works of this extraordinary exhibition include:

  • Large scale machine inventions, many interactive, crafted by modern day Artisans in Italy. The machines are based on the Artisan’s meticulous and lengthy studies into Leonardo’s codices
  • Facsimiles of a fascinating collection of codices
  • Life & times of Leonardo da Vinci presentation
  • Leonardo’s mysterious alphabet & writing technique
  • Reproductions of Leonardo da Vinci’s amazingly accurate and detailed anatomical drawings
  • Reproductions of the Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Renaissance artwork in actual size
  • The Battle of Anghiari preparatory drawings
  • The famous Vitruvian Man image and explanation in a world exclusive 3D animation
  • The Last Supper 3D animation projected in actual size
  • The creation of the Mona Lisa 3D animation
  • The great Sforza horse sculpture 3D animation
  • Educational programs – primary and secondary levels
  • Leonardo da Vinci Documentary
  • Audio tour
  • Leonardo da Vinci merchandise shop

These fabulous works are beautifully supported by written explanations of Vincian experts and Museum Curators, each with over 25 years experience.