Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius

Hello 'Mona Lisa': Melbourne digital art gallery The Lume's big multi-sensory 2024 exhibition is dedicated to Leonardo da Vinci.
Sarah Ward
February 16, 2024


The world's most-famous enigmatic smile is set to beam down on Australia in not one but two locations in 2024, all thanks to the team at Grande Experiences. The Melbourne-based company is the mastermind behind the immersive walkthrough art experiences that've been sweeping the country, both touring them and opening the nation's first permanent digital-only art gallery The Lume. And next year, it's turning its attention to both the Italian Renaissance in general and Leonardo da Vinci specifically — with Mona Lisa featuring prominently in both of its new showcases.

Italian Renaissance Alive has already locked in a season on the Gold Coast from March, and will include da Vinci's works. In the same month, The Lume in the Victorian capital will go all-in on the artist and inventor. The site's major 2024 exhibition is Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius, with the gallery is calling its "most ambitious, immersive and breathtaking yet".

That's quite the claim for a collection that follows a van Gogh celebration, a focus on Monet and his contemporaries and the current First Nations-centric ConnectionLeonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius will open to art lovers on Saturday, March 16.

The Last Supper will also enjoy the spotlight in a big way, because Grande Experiences' whole setup is making iconic, important and stunning works larger than life, surrounding attendees like never before. The Mona Lisa will also link in with the segment of the exhibition that's all about French optical engineer Pascal Cotte, who invented a multispectral camera and has peeled back the artwork's layers using his research. So, get excited about Mona Lisa Revealed, which will include an exact 360-degree replica — the only one in the world — as created thanks to Cotte's 240,000,000-pixel multispectral camera.

That said, Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius isn't just about its namesake's well-known works, with the 3000-square-metre multi-sensory gallery also exploring his inspirations and contemporaries. Thanks to the latter, Leonardo da Vinci — 500 Years of Genius and Italian Renaissance Alive will have more than a little in common. Botticelli's The Birth of Venus, Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel ceiling and works by Caravaggio will feature at both.

Melbourne will be home an experience that steps through da Vinci's journey, however, including Florence's streets, Venice's canals and Milan — as brought to life via sight, sound, scent, touch and taste.

Also among Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius' highlights: 50 of da Vinci's "machine inventions", which will be on loan the Museo Leonardo da Vinci in Rome. Alongside the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and his anatomical drawings — and more — da Vinci is well-known for his flying machine concepts, with his 15th-century vision of human flight set to score The Lume's attention. This part of the exhibition will hero recreations made in Italy from the artist and inventor's sketches, and also using the materials and techniques he would've at the time.


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