The Peoria Riverfront Museum has been Central Illinois’ go-to destination for popular traveling exhibitions. About a year ago, the museum was entertaining children and adults alike with the LEGO art showcase “The Art of the Brick.”
Toward the end of 2019, the museum leapt back more than half a millennium to honor the ultimate Renaissance Man with “Da Vinci – The Genius,” created by Australia-based Grande Exhibitions to be “the world’s most comprehensive Leonardo da Vinci exhibition experience.”
The exhibition features reproductions of some of Da Vinci’s best-known artworks, including a high-definition recreation of The Last Supper in actual size. It also tries to showcase the entire breadth of his genius as a scientist, anatomist, engineer, architect, sculptor, philosopher and even costume designer.
But much of the exhibition focuses on Da Vinci’s output as an inventor. Although many of his mechanic creations were never actually built, their blueprints were documented in codices, which Italian artisans used to faithfully craft life-size (and often interactive) machine inventions for the exhibition. They include the world’s first known concepts of a car, helicopter, glider, parachute, SCUBA diving equipment, submarine and military tank, highlighting just how ahead of his time Da Vinci was.
The exhibition also includes “Secrets of Mona Lisa,” a Louvre Museum-sanctioned analysis of the world’s most iconic painting by renowned scientific engineer, photographer and fine art expert, Pascal Cotte, who visited the museum on Feb. 7 for a talk and reception.
“Da Vinci: The Genius” closed on March 22.
Photos by Sergio Barreto