Programs & Services

Da Vinci--The Genius Exhibition Explores Early Aviation Concepts

October 8th, 2017

(Albuquerque, NM) – Thousands of visitors and New Mexicans will be looking skyward this week at hot air balloons participating in the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.  Hot air balloon and aviation enthusiasts enjoying the enchanting vision of colorful balloons and special shapes will have another opportunity to study the origins of flight when the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science hosts Da Vinci—The Genius, by Grand Exhibitions from February 10 through July 29, 2018.

French brothers Joseph-Michel Montgolfier and Jacques-Etenne Montgolfier invented and successfully launched the very first the hot air balloon in 1783. The achievement elevated their father to nobility. Fully two centuries before the Montgolfier brothers’ achievement, aviation was, perhaps, the favorite subject of acclaimed Italian genius, Leonardo da Vinci’s many areas of study.

The possibility of people flying through the air, like birds, truly excited da Vinci. He was perhaps, the first European interested in a practical solution to the challenge of flight. He studied the flights of birds, and their physical structure, making detailed drawings of flight and several mechanical wing devices.  He designed many mechanical devices, including parachutes.   About 1485, da Vinci drew detailed plans for a human-powered ornithopter, a wing-flapping device intended to fly.  The image he presented featured above, is a powerful one, however there is no evidence da Vinci ever tried to build such a device.   During his lifespan (1452-1519), da Vinci’s flying machine may have flown once airborne but a person could never have created enough power to get off the ground.  

Beginning February 10, 2018, the New Mexico Museum of Natural History and Science and Grande Exhibitions will present Da Vinci – The Genius, the most comprehensive exploration of Leonardo da Vinci’s work ever created, for a limited engagement in Albuquerque. The interactive experience will immerse guests in Leonardo’s timeless brilliance through full-scale interpretations of the mastermind’s inventions and unparalleled studies of his iconic art.

Da Vinci – The Genius demonstrates the full scope of Leonardo da Vinci’s remarkable genius as an inventor, artist, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, musician and architect. Guests will enjoy many unique pieces including life-size machine inventions, entertaining animations of da Vinci’s most notable Renaissance works and an eye-opening, in-depth analysis of his most famous piece, “Mona Lisa.” Visitors will be able to push, pull, crank and interact with many of these exhibits for a hands-on understanding of the scientific principles behind them.

“This exhibition was created by Grande Exhibitions to celebrate Leonardo da Vinci’s great works and place them all together in a single location where people can come and marvel at the brilliance of this great mind. We’re delighted to bring this exceptional project to the people of New Mexico,” said Margie Marino, Executive Director of the museum.). “Da Vinci – The Genius offers visitors of all ages and backgrounds an entertaining, educational and enlightening experience, whether they are art and history aficionados or seeing da Vinci’s work for the first time.”

Created with the assistance of the Museo Leonardo da Vinci – Rome, Italy, and a number of experts in Italy and France, Da Vinci – The Genius celebrates one of the most revered and dynamic minds of all time. The exhibition features 17 compelling themed areas of da Vinci’s work, offering visitors an unmatched look inside the mind of the ultimate Renaissance man who laid the groundwork for some of modern society’s most impactful inventions, such as the helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine, parachute and bicycle.

Doors open to the public on February 10, 2018.  Prices are $22 per ticket.  Da Vinci – The Genius will be open daily from 9:00AM-5:00PM

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