Da Vinci: Genius, artist, scuba diver?

After two hits with Bodies and Titanic, it’s opening day for the latest show at the MTS Exhibition Hall –  Da Vinci the Genius (maybe the last with the new hotel going up?).

When you think Da Vinci, you probably think artist, paintings, the Mona Lisa – so did I. But this exhibit gives you a chance to check out ALL the different creative directions da Vinci’s brain went – and there were a lot.

After getting into the renaissance mindset with a hall of paintings and key pieces of history from Da Vinci’s life, you head to the first room of his inventions – flying machines. The exhibit is much more than just drawings and videos – they’ve built his inventions out of wood, canvas, and other things that would have been used at the time. They’re amazing feats, but I’m still not sure I’d try flying in one – some of them look suspiciously heavy!

The next rooms each have themes as well – engineering creations you can play with, discoveries in anatomy, military inventions, and an assortment of totally unexpected pieces I don’t even know what to call, like prototype scuba equipment (which someone braver than me apparently tested), an eight-sided room of mirrors and a portable piano you can strap on in front of you. I think Da Vinci may have been responsible for the one-man band. It’s hard to believe one person managed to have all these ideas in his lifetime!

Oh, and in his spare time, he did get around to the occasional painting. Of course, the real ones are waaaaaay to valuable to take out on tour (um, $100 000 000+), so this exhibit’s are reproductions. There are paintings through the whole exhibit, but the big showpiece at the end is the Mona Lisa section. I loved being able to get inches away from a complete replica of the painting – front and back – and see detail than I never could in real life,  unless of course I decide to change careers and become curator of the Louvre.

The exhibit opens today and is open Monday through Saturday from 10:00 am – 8:00 pm and on Sunday from 12:00 pm – 6:00 pm. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster at www.ticketmaster.ca

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