Up She Goes

Da Vinci Alive exhibit opens at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond.

Why does the idea of flight hold such fascination for mankind? In the new Da Vinci Alive: The Experience exhibit at the Science Museum of Virginia in Richmond, we find that the notion of flying has long appealed to humanity, even before Leonardo Da Vinci first sketched his seemingly-impossible inventions to make man air-borne.

But this exhibition shows more than the gliders, whirligigs and flying machines of Da Vinci’s incredibly curious mind—also on display are a number of sketches, as well as examples of the artist’s civil and military engineering, including concepts for the first automobile, bicycle and tank.

The exhibit concludes with an immersive exploration of the various elements of Da Vinci’s most celebrated work, Mona Lisa. Large-scale imaging shows the original portrait of Lisa del Giocondo that Da Vinci painted over, alterations made either by the artist himself or by restoration specialists in the centuries following, and imperfections you would never notice otherwise, such as Mona Lisa’s unfinished forefinger.

Although all of the items on display in this exhibition are high-quality reproductions of Da Vinci’s original designs and works, the exhibit provides an in-depth look at the true ingenuity of the inventor’s mind. Da Vinci Alive runs through Sept. 5. Tickets are $25 for adults, $24 for children and $7 for members. SMV.org

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