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Manufacturing Indaba 2018

Cape Town's Leonardo da Vinci exhibition extends stay

The organisers of the 'Da Vinci - The Genius' exhibition have announced the extension of the Cape Town exhibition's run by a further six weeks, due to public demand.
Described as the most comprehensive exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci to tour the world, the exhibition extends its run until Sunday 23 March 2014 to give Capetonians a last-chance peek at some of the unique pieces on display, which showcase Leonardo's remarkable achievements.

The exhibition is currently on display at Chavonnes Battery Museum, located in the Clock Tower Precinct of the V&A Waterfront.

Mona Lisa revealed

"This exhibition is a must-see for anyone who appreciates Leonardo's exceptional works of art, not least the Mona Lisa and for anyone who is interested in discovering how he laid the groundwork for some of modern society's most impactful inventions, such as the helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine, parachute and bicycle."

The exhibition features more than 200 unique pieces including 75 life-size machine inventions and 3D renderings of Leonardo's most notable Renaissance works. Plasma touch screen versions of his codices (handwritten manuscripts) will allow visitors to enjoy a glimpse into his mysterious alphabet and mirror-writing techniques, which some experts believe he used to disguise his work and findings.

Although Leonardo sketched and conceptualised numerous inventions and ideas, most were never built and none survive today. This is the most comprehensive exhibition of its kind to bring to life the ideas and concepts written in the codices. Adding an extra layer of authenticity is the fact that the items on display have been faithfully crafted using materials that were available in Leonardo's day.

One of the exhibition's most popular features so far has been the unveiling of the '25 secrets' of Leonardo's most famous creation, the Mona Lisa. The secrets - the result of two years' meticulous study involving a 240-megapixel camera that enabled a virtual 'peeling away' of five centuries of paint, varnish and restoration work - have delighted and enthralled visitors who have enjoyed close examination of the lady's enigmatic smile and the exact 360-degree replica of her on display. (The original Mona Lisa, which is far too fragile and priceless to be moved, is housed permanently in the Louvre Museum in Paris.)

Other key attractions

    • the controversial new Leonardo discovery Bella Principessa;
    • his remarkable and ahead-of-their time anatomical sketches;
    • preparatory drawings of the Anghiari Battle, a painting that is presently lost but believed to be hidden by a fresco on a Florentine palace;
    • three-dimensional interactive presentations of The Last Supper - the painting famously featured by author Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code - the Vitruvian Man and the Sforza Horse sculpture that offer never-before-seen perspectives on these famous works;
    • educational activities for children
Grande Exhibitions, Australia and the Anthropos Association, Italy developed the exhibition (under the auspices of the Commune di Roma, Commune di Firenze and Citta Di Venezia, and with the assistance of Pascal Cotte of Lumiere Technologies, France).

Tickets are available online at, or at the venue.

Read more: exhibitions, fine art