Sunday, January 16, 2011

Da-Da-Da Vinci

When you were a kid, did you ever dream of invincible warships with twenty canons attached to its hull? Fold paper airplanes with extravagant wings and rudders, only to have it fall flat on the ground when flown? Keep secrets by speaking in code? Doodle in the margins of your textbooks and exercise booklets?

If you answered yes to any of the above, you might just have a bit of Da Vinci in you!

At the "Marvelous Inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci" exhibition, you can get a cursory grasp of the genius that is the Renaissance man. Many of Da Vinci's drawings and sketches have been modeled with marked craftsmanship. Some of which are interactive to give you a better sense of what his drawings meant to modern inventions. The automobile, helicopter, drills, gears and pulleys, nautical navigation, ship construction and a wealth of other crucial discoveries.

Alas, Da Vinci is most popularly known for his painting rather than inventions, which were also replicated faithfully at the exhibition. Obviously, they cannot do the real masterpieces justice, but what would a Da Vinci exhibition be without Mona Lisa or The Last Supper?

The exhibition is quite small, but with an adequate number of fixtures and exhibits that can easily keep you interested for 45-60 minutes. You can revel in his work outside of his paintings and feel how much of it has influenced life as we know it today.

One of my favorite pieces was a simple lever system fixed on a castle wall which when activated, would extend a long horizontal rod outwards. This was used to push off ladders cast by would-be invaders. Such a simple, almost child-like idea was recorded in quilt and parchment by the master himself! A very inspirational lesson which suggest that even the simplest ideas are worth noting.

This program will run till 2 Februrary, 2011 at the Hong Kong Science Museum. Tickets are $25, concessions $12.5. It's free on Wednesdays, but I'd reckon it'd be quite crowded. It's also closed on Thursdays, which might suggest at the chaos and aftermath of freebie Wednesdays so be forewarned!

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