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May 6, 2015

Leonardo da Vinci - The Renaissance Comes to I-Drive

7220 International Drive is a building full of well-rounded possibilities for fun and education in the heart of Orlando's tourist corridor. Home to CSI: The Experience and Consumed by Art, 7220 has a third exhibit space devoted to attractions that are temporary in nature. When the building first opened its doors under current ownership, this space was occupied by Star Trek: The Exhibition. Just over a year later, Our Body: The Universe Within took over the vacated space. As of April, Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Artist-Inventor-Genius is calling this location home.


Leonardo da Vinci is well known for artistic works such as The Last Supper and Mona Lisa, but the original Renaissance man accomplished so much more than these famous masterpieces. As the name implies, Man-Artist-Inventor-Genius encompasses the entirety of Da Vinci's brilliant visions - featuring all 23 of his known paintings and nearly 40 of his innovative machines. 
The paintings are replicas, of course - and the machines are recreated by Italian craftsmen based on Da Vinci's original sketches. So, if everything is replicated, what makes this exhibit so appealing? Simply put... this is the most complete collection of Da Vinci's inspiring work in one location. In order to see even a small portion of the original artworks, one would have to travel to multiple museums in various countries. Keep in mind, Da Vinci's inventions are not generally in existence in a three-dimensional form. They merely exist in sketched drawings with notes detailing their functions. A true fan of history, art, machinery, and vision could not find such a representation of these in any other exhibit, and it's the kind of display that will provoke an appreciation of one underestimated man's visionary mind. 
Born in the late 15th century, Leonardo da Vinci was a man who saw the future. He had a desire for achievements that were simply ludicrous at the time, and he realized needs that were not yet presented to society. These same "needs" are now commonplace, but in Da Vinci's day, they were unheard of. Can you imagine a time when human flight was completely preposterous? Leonardo da Vinci had visions of the earliest version of what we now know as a helicopter.
His fascination with flight prompted natural observations of birds. Da Vinci studied wing structure to discover what enabled birds to soar through the skies. This led to many progressive developments that eventually yielded a flying glider.
Flight machines are just one of four divisions of Da Vinci's innovative machines. Each section is identified by color-coded informational panels detailing the purpose of every invention in that category. Flight machines are in orange, mechanical machines are green, hydraulic machines are blue, and war machines are red. You'll find everything from the earliest "scuba" conceptions to mechanical devices that Da Vinci envisioned to make life a little easier, and work a little less taxing.
While most items are built to scale, there are a few that are recreated in full-size. The inventions were built using the same materials that would have been available during Da Vinci's lifetime, so they're authentic to his concepts in every way. You can view the original drawings on the accompanying panels, along with detailed information about each machine's intended function. The best part is - most of the machines are interactive and hands-on!
But... as much as Da Vinci was a visionary, he's probably more popularly known as an artist above-all. His works are represented here in authentic condition, complete with informational displays, revealing where the originals can be found, how long Da Vinci spent on each, and more details behind the masterpieces. 
Naturally, no Da Vinci collection would be complete without the presence of his most famous face - Mona Lisa! This exhibit has three replications of the mysterious lady - and there is a good reason for the nature of this display. In 1911, Mona Lisa was stolen from its home at The Louvre. While it is said that the original was recovered and returned to the museum, there is much debate and mystery about the truth in this claim. Since her return to The Louvre, Mona Lisa can only be viewed from a distance, and behind thick glass. One simple Google search will reveal rampant theories that this is not, in fact, the original artwork. The display at Man-Inventor-Artist-Genius presents three replicas, and the point is quite clear. When you view the paintings from a distance, it is very difficult (if not impossible) to notice the differences between them. Upon close inspection and scrutiny, it becomes very obvious that the differences are dramatic - the shadows, brush strokes, overall techniques, and backgrounds are very apparent. How do we really know that The Louvre is displaying the original Da Vinci masterpiece? 
Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Inventor-Artist-Genius will be on display at 7220 International Drive for a limited time only. Prices are set at $16.99 for adults, $9.99 for children. Combo packages are available to combine visits to CSI: The Experience and Consumed by Art for a total of $31.99. There is a great deal of knowledge to gain and time to occupy when you combine all three experiences for a complete, diverse day of family edutainment. Educational programs and special events are regularly scheduled to accompany all exhibits, with a private event room for special engagements. 

For more information, please visit Leonardo da Vinci: Man-Inventor-Artist-Genius on Facebook or Twitter!