Genius of Leonardo da Vinci comes to life at Cincinnati Museum Center

CINCINNATI – The works of one of history’s most brilliant minds are coming to Cincinnati. Cincinnati Museum Center will open Da Vinci – The Genius on May 20, an interactive exhibit that immerses guests in the Italian mastermind’s timeless brilliance through full-scale interpretations of his inventions and unparalleled studies of his iconic art.

While many know Leonardo da Vinci as the painter of the “Mona Lisa” or “The Last Supper,” he was much more than that. He was the ultimate Renaissance man – a self-taught inventor, artist, scientist, engineer, sculptor, anatomist, biologist, musician, architect and philosopher. He was regarded as a genius in his own lifetime and conceptualized ideas that were unheard of in his day. Unfortunately, da Vinci left behind very few examples of his ideas. He never actually built many of his most brilliant inventions. And what few do exist have been ravaged by the test of time.

What da Vinci did leave behind were his codices – tiny notebooks of drawings and writings on a variety of subjects. Among the drawings are blueprints for some of modern society’s most impactful inventions, such as the helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine and parachute. Da Vinci – The Genius brings to life over 70 of these life-size machine inventions, each crafted by Italian artisans using the same techniques and materials from the Renaissance period. Scouring more than 6,000 pages from da Vinci’s personal codices, the artisans deciphered hidden clues, intentional mistakes and mirror-image writing that da Vinci employed to keep his works top secret.

“This man universally known as an artist is now getting his due as an inventor, engineer and scientist,” says Elizabeth Pierce, president and CEO of Cincinnati Museum Center. “This exhibit is a fun and fascinating intersection of history, science, art and technology and a perfect example of why you should always keep learning and never stop testing the limits of what’s possible.”

Da Vinci – The Genius features 17 themed galleries with over 200 pieces, including life-size inventions, entertaining animations of da Vinci’s most notable works and an eye-opening, in-depth analysis of his most famous piece, the “Mona Lisa.” Visitors can push, pull, crank and interact with many of these exhibits for a hands-on understanding of the scientific principles behind them.

The most illustrious component of Da Vinci – The Genius is arguably the Secrets of the “Mona Lisa” gallery, featuring the findings of French engineer and examiner of fine art Pascal Cotte. Granted unprecedented access to the “Mona Lisa” by the French government and the Louvre Museum , Cotte was permitted to take the “Mona Lisa” off the wall and out of its frame to conduct a scientific analysis. The investigation took more than two years and revealed dozens of secrets about history’s most elusive art piece, all verified by the Louvre Museum curators. The exhibit showcases Cotte’s studies and 25 of his most compelling revelations plus 40 super-magnified, high-resolution sectional images exploring every aspect of the work.

Other exhibition highlights include reproductions of “Virgin of the Rocks,” “The Annunciation” and the controversial new da Vinci discovery “Bella Principessa,” plus amazing anatomical sketches and the preparatory drawings of the “Anghiari Battle.” The artist’s famous fresco “The Last Supper” is displayed at actual size (29 x 14.5 feet) with educational animation presentations. Da Vinci’s famous “Vitruvian Man” and the Golden Ratio are also included, along with the “Sforza Horse” sculpture, a massive statue that was destroyed by an invading French army, erasing 16 years of work before it could be cast in bronze. Guests will also get a glimpse into da Vinci’s mysterious alphabet and writing techniques as they browse touchscreen versions of his actual codices.

“Leonardo da Vinci is the ultimate example of the mind’s capacity to learn, imagine and create without limitation,” says Antonella Bigi, consular correspondent of the Consulate of Italy. “He was not just a genius in his time, but a genius for all time. The Italian community is thrilled that Cincinnati Museum Center is sharing the true scope of da Vinci’s work and brilliance with the Greater Cincinnati region.”

Da Vinci – The Genius presents the mind and works of a man whose brilliance has only been enhanced by the test of time. The interactive, hands-on exhibit presents the timeless blend of science, technology, engineering, art and culture in a way that will challenge you to pursue knowledge and dare to dream.

Da Vinci – The Genius was developed by Grande Exhibitions, under the kind auspices of the Comune di Roma, Commune di Firenze and Cittá Di Venezia and with the assistance of Pascal Cotte of Lumiere Technologies, France.

Tickets for Da Vinci – The Genius are now on sale. Da Vinci – The Genius opens at Cincinnati Museum Center May 20, 2016. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit

Pricing now through May 1
Adult: $17.50
Child: $10.50
Senior: $15.50
Member Adult: $12.50
Member Child: $8.50

Pricing starting May 2
Adult: $19.50
Child: $12.50
Senior: $17.50
Member Adult: $12.50
Member Child: $8.50

For more information, visit