The Genius of Da Vinci Visits Manzanillo

2019 Colours of Mexico February 2019 Suzanne A. Marshall

By Suzanne A. Marshall from the February 2019 Edition

January 12 – February 17, 2019, Centro Universitario de Bellas Artes, Manzanillo, Colima

“The Da Vinci Dream Factory, is a Mexican cultural company dedicated to the research, interpretation and construction of Leonardo da Vinci’s inventions, since 2009, preserved in their codices and later integrated into a collection of smaller-scale models that make up a portable and interactive museum.”

The project is called the Da Vinci Academy and already has three different versions. These have been presented in nine different states of the Mexican Republic. The new project, “Master Mind”, is a large-scale museum, portable, interactive and designed for temporary presentations.

What is really fascinating is the 110 carefully selected models manufactured by Mexican indigenous artisans (Purépechas) from Michoacán, using materials and techniques of the Da Vinci era. I found myself ‘up close and personal’ viewing these models from inches away and walking around them to take in the entire scope of the pieces.

One can view the various charts of the exhibit which depict the many drawings of Da Vinci and the correlation of each to modern day items. It is a most fascinating experience. To think a man who lived 5 centuries ago (1452-1519) could conceive of these brilliant ideas is incredulous. Depicted below, for example, are samples of Da Vinci drawings that became modern day braking systems, gyroscopes, valves, centrifuges and instruments of perpetual motion. But there are so many more.

Not only was Da Vinci a most gifted painter (considered by many the greatest of all time) and sculptor, his drawings and ideas depicted ultimate inventions that included: architecture, science, musical instruments, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history and cartography.

As a painter, some of his most famous works include: The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Salvator Mundi. This last painting sold in New York in 2017 for the highest price ever paid; a stunning 450.3 million at Christie’s auction.

Below is the Salvator Mundi painting sold at auction.

                                                                    Models of Da Vinci instruments

Throughout the exhibit, one can view the numerous models. What a wonderful idea to replicate the Da Vinci drawings into real objects. Though one cannot touch (it’s tempting to turn a wheel or strike a drum), seeing these come to ‘life’ creates an unforgettable impact on the mind. How did he dream these ideas up out of nothing?

         Da Vinci compass designs

One can only imagine the stimulating conversations to be had for students and adults alike as they view the charts and wonderful artisan models of the Da Vinci inventions. I asked the Executive Director of the exhibition, Gerardo Madrueño, where the exhibits might be taken next and was told they are hoping to bring his wonderful project to Canada. Fortunately, I also spoke with Eduardo Meléndez Campos who is an English teaching coach and involved in many educational pursuits here in Manzanillo.

His English, of course, is impeccable, as the displays are all in Spanish here in Mexico. But believe me, you can still interpret a great deal by the clever models and photos. This is an event well worth the curious mind and I highly recommend an adventure to the Centro Universitario de Belles Artes to see it for yourself.

I must share another fascinating item that can be enjoyed from the exhibit. When you enter and pay your fee (50 pesos, half price for seniors with the INAPAM/INSEN card) you will receive a coupon commemorating the exhibit complete with a photo of the Mona Lisa. But this is not just any coupon. When you look at it through the photo lens of an android phone, holograms pop up from the coupon in 3D of various Da Vinci inventions. I’ve, quite frankly, never seen anything quite like it.

And what an ingenious way to bring an added modern dimension to the exhibit. (They are currently working on the application for iPhones).

   Models of a Da Vinci auger and hammer and anvil

I sincerely hope that this article and the sample photos, which are but a few, will encourage everyone to head out before February 17th to see this wonderful exhibition. Congratulations to the project developers for a job well done!

Don’t forget to download the Google Translate app, add the dictionary and the offline option, to make it easier to read captions.

Above models are of automated drums and a bell ringer with actual keys to press
The first bicycle perhaps and a weight lifting mechanism that rolls
Perhaps an underwater diving device or a future submarine?

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