Boise will get the opportunity to experience the work of one of the greatest Renaissance minds come June 14. Painter, inventor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist and writer Leonardo da Vinci may have died more than 450 years ago, but his ideas and models will be showcased in the Discovery Center’s da Vinci Man-Inventor-Genius and Man-Artist-Genius exhibit.
The exhibit will feature 61 invention models and 23 replicated masterpieces created by a group of Italian artisans, as well as audio tours, a timeline, demonstrations and hands-on activities.
“A few of da Vinci’s flying machines are pretty impressive in terms of both size and design. It’s pretty neat to see how some of the simple machines he devised have been modified for use today,” said Kristine Barney executive director of the Discovery Center. “The replicated paintings are pretty impressive as well. They are life size and come with narrative about their history.”
The collection of da Vinci replicates and information comes from an exhibit in Chicago, where a staff member from the Discovery Center experienced it and felt it would be valuable to bring back to the Boise community.
“We’d like visitors to come away from the exhibition with a greater understanding of how da Vinci’s passion for the arts and sciences resulted in the incredible body of work he created and how his work—both the process and the products – are still relevant today,” explained Barney.
The Discovery Center has only put on one other exhibit which didn’t originate in Boise; this was the “Bodies Revealed” exhibit. The da Vinci exhibition mirrors many of the themes of Boise State’s UF 100 classes.
“The exhibition addresses big ideas about genius, innovation, creativity, and discovery… (and) is geared toward people of all ages. We believe that you’re never too old or too young to learn, and this particular exhibition lends itself to myriad interests,” Barney said.
Students who are interested in getting involved can attend the exhibition starting June 14 for $15, or can become a volunteer for the Discovery Center. Volunteers can either teach attendees about the life and work of da Vinci, or can assist with the Discovery Center’s summer programs.
“Volunteers are basically charged with all of the up front stuff, the things the visitors will be most aware of; this includes janitorial duties, guiding and explaining exhibits, handling the front desk, ensuring order, and other odd jobs, all the backstage stuff, most technical maintenance, and actual exhibit design is done by the employees,” said junior economics and political science major and Discover Center volunteer, Ben Duran.
“I think that this is the perfect venue for the da Vinci exhibit; his works have always been fascinating in theory but it’s only in practice do you see his genius, how far ahead of the curve he was. Seeing it in front of people and getting a little bit of hands-on time should help people really get it,” Duran said.