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National Geographic exhibit explore's Da Vinci's genius

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The National Geographic Museum will host an exclusive first look at a new traveling exhibit, "Da Vinci - The Genius", on Thursday, June 17 from 9-10:30 a.m. The exhibit will officially open on the following day and will run through the summer, closing on September 12.

Created with the assistance of Il Genio di Leonardo da Vinci Museo (Italy) and Pascal Cotte of Lumiere Technology (France), the exhibit features a vast array of full-scale inventions re-created according to Da Vinci's personal codices (notebooks); reproductions of his most famous Renaissance paintings, including the Mona Lisa, Virgin of the Rocks and The Annunciation; detailed anatomical sketches; the preparatory drawings for the Battle of Anghiari; and custom video presentations.

A cadre of Italian artisans spent the last decade studying and interpreting Da Vinci’s codices and crafting the mechanical inventions shown in the exhibition. The artisans reproduced more than 120 of Da Vinci’s machine inventions, 67 of which will be on display. Among them are Da Vinci’s visions for the glider, parachute, precursor to the modern helicopter, forerunner of the modern military tank, automobile, submarine, ball bearing and gear systems, and others that were far ahead of their time.

The exhibition will also include an insight into the “Secrets of Mona Lisa,” featuring images showcasing the work of French engineer optician Pascal Cotte. With his cutting-edge, 240-megapixel, multispectral imaging camera, Cotte was able to uncover how Mona Lisa looked as she was originally painted, distinguishing between layers of over-painting, restoration and attempts at preservation, and identifying the individual pigments used by Da Vinci.

The museum will be hosting free family drop-in programs, during which children can create their own flying whirligig, on Saturdays July 10 and August 7 and at 2 p.m. on Wednesdays July 14 and 28 and August 11 and 25.