The Mind Museum’s Da Vinci the Genius exhibit-A A +A
Friday, November 1, 2013
PERHAPS there is no more fitting description for Leonardo da Vinci than a genius. He was an inventor, a scientist, an artist, musician, architect, philosopher, among others. He spent his entire life learning more about himself, his surroundings, the world, and the world beyond.
To get to know him through books, films and documentaries made about his life is a trip down the Renaissance era, imagining how Leonardo came about the ideas and how much time did he spend to be able to provide intricate details to his designs and comprehensive description to his analyses.
But to be able to see for yourself how his ideas come to life in replicated models and life-size samples is an experience that will only exceed your expectation about the greatness that is Leonardo da Vinci.
Running for two months now, The Mind Museum in Taguig City stages a travelling exhibit titled "Da Vinci: The Genius." Grande Exhibitions, a company based in Italy that hosts permanent as well as travelling exhibits, has been touring the exhibit all over the globe since 2006. It has been to Manchester in the United Kingdom, Oregon in the United States, Budapest in Hungary, and Macau among others.
A good exhibit should surpass expectations. I am not an expert on Da Vinci but I think the basic things anybody who has read about him is looking for in an exhibit are: The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man and his plane prototypes (oh well, I am a sucker for planes).
The Mind Museum did not disappoint. The division of the exhibit, from the milestones of his life, to how Leonardo explored the human anatomy, to his inventions like the different types of cranes, the odometer, the scuba-diving gear, and the military tank, among others, to a replica of The Mona Lisa and his other paintings and a 3D projection of The Last Supper. And yes, the Vitruvian Man was also there.
Most of which were based from his codices worth around 6,000 pages of images, drawings and explanations about his ideas.
I brought three friends to visit the exhibition for the second time around. It took us about three hours to be able to see the entire exhibit. We also watched a BBC documentary inside the mini theater.
Do not be disheartened. The exhibit hall is not that big. In fact, I noticed that it was cramped in a small area, I would have appreciated it more if it was a larger hall especially that the glider and the other flight-related items seemed to have been squeezed in with the rest.
My friends and I believe that to make the most out of the chance to see the travelling exhibit, we might as well read everything carefully and examine each item. And that's exactly what we did.
We even tried to recreate the escape bridge that Leonardo proposed. It has no ropes, no nails, just logs. However, we were not able to finish building the bridge. In our defense, we believe that we have understood completely how Leonardo wanted to build it. We just lost patience trying to rebuild the bridge every time the bridge breaks and the logs fall.
My most favorite part was the Physics section simply because we can touch and play with the items. I was thrilled to see the wooden precursors of balls and gears. Leonardo worked on simple concepts of mechanics and was able to innovate technology that reduces effort, stress and force to perform jobs previously done by humans alone.
My second most favorite part was of course, the wings and the prototypes of planes and helicopters. Too bad, they were not interactive.
Can't go to the Louvre in Paris, France? The part showing "the secrets of Mona Lisa," was also commendable. The painting was not real, but at least, one can get to experience – somehow – a closer look at arguably the most prominent artwork in the world.
During Leonardo's time, there was no Google yet. He was not even formally educated. But he became an artist's apprentice later in his life. To be able to come up with ideas worth a travelling exhibit, plus artworks that transcends cultures and generations, I cannot even contain my admiration for the guy.
That day, I also observed the other people inside the museum. There were families with toddlers, a grandmother touring her grandchildren, and old and young couples and some mini groups of friends. How did the children feel? Were they bored? Did they understand what the exhibit was about? Did they even like it?
The success of an exhibit like this can be measured in two ways. One, if it was economically successful. How many have already visited it? How many came back? And two, if it was able to bring more lasting results like, were the people who stepped out of the hall inspired to be like Leonardo? Will the kids who went there aspire to be as multi-talented and well-rounded as he was?
Now, I was thinking, is there a modern-day Filipino renaissance man?