Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius to open at THE LUME

Mona Lisa on display at The LUME MelbourneIn a celebration of innovation, art and the timeless genius of Leonardo da Vinci, THE LUME Melbourne is thrilled to open an unparalleled showcase that promises to redefine the boundaries of immersive experiences.

From Saturday 16 March 2024, visitors will have the unique opportunity to step inside the world of Leonardo, featuring original drawings and writings from the Codex Atlanticus, penned by the master himself.

This is the first time in history the Codex Atlanticus has been displayed in Australia; an unprecedented feat that comes after over a decade of dedicated relationship-building with Biblioteca Ambrosiana, the custodians of much of Leonardo’s legacy in Milan, and privately funded, underscoring THE LUME Melbourne’s commitment to bringing this new extraordinary experience to Australia. Parts of the codex have previously been displayed in London’s Victoria and Albert Museum, New York City’s Metropolitan Museum of Art and Paris’s Louvre Museum.

The showcase also features to scale machine inventions brought to life by Italian artisans from the pages of Leonardo’s codices, the only exact 360º replica of Mona Lisa in the world alongside the revelation of 25 secrets about the famous painting, a brand new immersive experience in the enormous 3,000 sqm/4 story high multi-sensory gallery, cutting-edge AI and VR interactive technologies that breathe life into the master’s iconic work, an exquisite Renaissance-themed culinary experience in Caffè Medici, and more.

“The story of this polymath is extraordinary when one pauses to reflect,” says Bruce Peterson, Founder of THE LUME Melbourne. “Leonardo, arguably the greatest creative genius the world has ever known, astonishes us with the vastness of his curiosity and expertise – from artist and scientist to engineer, sculptor, musician, event producer, geologist, botanist – and beyond.”

500 years in the making
To achieve this ambitious showcase, Peterson had to forge close connections with key Italian and French artisans, historians and curators. He even relocated his young family to Italy for a year as building trust took time for an Australian who was about to become intimately involved with an icon “second only to God” in Italy.

“The Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana is very pleased to bring pages of the Codex Atlanticus to Australia for the first time in history, including original drawings by Leonardo da Vinci, thanks to the initiative of our major institutional partner THE LUME Melbourne,” says Monsignor Alberto Rocca, Director of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

“The precious artistic and technological legacy of the most celebrated Italian genius continues to produce bonds of culture, collaboration and friendship between different countries, which has been the mission that has inspired Ambrosiana for over four hundred years.”

The world’s largest multisensory gallery: navigating the life of Leonardo
THE LUME Melbourne’s colossal 3,000 sqm/4 story high multisensory gallery serves as a gateway to Leonardo’s life and legacy. This expansive space envelops visitors in an immersive journey, engaging all the senses with sights, sounds, scents, touch and taste that recreate the ambiance of the Renaissance.

As visitors navigate through the streets of Florence, the canals of Venice, the history of Rome, the grandeur of Milan and end their journey – as Leonardo did – in Amboise, France, they will gain a profound understanding of the inspirations, innovations and enduring impact of the maestro.

Mona Lisa Revealed: exclusively revealing 25 secrets that lay hidden beneath the surface
Unveil the enigma behind the world’s most famous portrait in a scientific exploration by the world’s number one authority on the Mona Lisa, Pascal Cotte. The famous French Optical Engineer and consultant to The Louvre Museum, given unprecedented access as an advisor to the French Ministry of Culture, employs state-of-the-art technology to peel back the layers of technique and symbolism within Leonardo’s brushstrokes, inviting visitors to experience the artistry and intrigue that continue to captivate the world.

On display will be the only exact 360º replica in the world of the Mona Lisa in actual size with her front, back and sides revealed from Cotte’s 240,000,000 pixel multispectral camera. His research peels back the layers of Mona Lisa, revealing previously hidden details and visitors will see the Mona Lisa in her original colour from 1503. “The results shatter many myths and alter our vision of Leonardo’s masterpiece forever,” says Cotte.

40 ‘machine inventions’ from Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome
Central to the experience is a journey through the mind of a master inventor with an awe-inspiring display of 40 “machine inventions”, expertly crafted by Italian artisans at the Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome. From flying machines to underwater breathing apparatus, created from Leonardo’s sketches using mostly techniques and materials that would have been available in fifteenth-century Italy, each bear witness to his pioneering spirit, centuries ahead of his time, as he sought to reshape the physical world through his ground-breaking inventions.

More immersive and interactive areas than ever before offering something for all ages:
VR Florence Flyover: Embark on an awe-inspiring journey using cutting edge VR technology. Fulfil Leonardo’s ultimate dream of flying freely like a bird, soar through the skies and gain a bird’s-eye view of Renaissance Florence. Let the beauty of the landscape sweep you off your feet as you explore the birthplace of artistic brilliance.

Feel the wind in your hair and the thrill of discovery as you navigate through the historic cityscape, experiencing the sights and sounds of Leonardo’s world like he would have dreamt to do.

Caffè Medici: Travel back in time in THE LUME’s Renaissance-themed dining area, for an immersive culinary experience sure to ignite your taste buds. Indulge in the rich tapestry of Italian cuisine, enjoying a feast fit for a Medici prince, as you dine in the brilliance of Leonardo’s The Last Supper, perfectly to scale as it appears on the refectory wall in the convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan.

Enlightening storytelling animation breathes life into Leonardo’s masterpiece, allowing visitors to witness the subtleties of expression, the play of light and shadow, and the profound emotion of this iconic moment.

Drawn by Leonardo: Experience the fusion of art and AI innovation as you witness yourself being transformed into a Leonardo da Vinci sketch. Marvel at the seamless integration of advanced AI as it turns your image into a masterpiece drawn by the hand of the master himself. Be amazed as the lines of the past meet the technology of the future, creating a truly unique artistic encounter.

Vitruvian Man: Discover your connection to Leonardo’s Vitruvian Man with this interactive experience. Find out just how closely you align with the proportions of this iconic figure. Engage with the principles of symmetry and harmony as you explore the intersection of art and anatomy.

Measure up against the timeless ideals of proportion, gaining insights into Leonardo’s ground-breaking exploration and meticulous anatomical observations of the human form that underpin the representation of harmony and the epitome of perfection.

Artist Studio: Unleash your creativity in THE LUME Melbourne’s artist studio. Follow along with a guided video and create your very own Leonardo masterpiece. Equipped with an easel and materials, channel your inner artist as you bring Leonardo’s techniques to life.

Let inspiration guide your hand as you draw your own piece of Renaissance art, discovering the joy of artistic expression in a space dedicated to Leonardo’s enduring impact on art. This hands-on workshop offers visitors the opportunity to engage with Leonardo’s artistic process, fostering creativity and exploration in a supportive environment.

Leonardo da Vinci – 500 Years of Genius
THE LUME – Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre, 5 Convention Centre Place, South Wharf
On display from 16 March 2024
Information and Bookings: www.thelumemelbourne.com

Image: Mona Lisa on display at The LUME Melbourne (supplied)