Inspiring Da Vinci exhibition extended in Cape Town

2014-02-06 12:26
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Cape Town - Cape Town’s fascination with and appreciation for the global travelling exhibition Da Vinci – The Genius, which showcases the achievements of Renaissance giant, Leonardo da Vinci, has prompted organisers to extend the exhibition’s run by a further 6 weeks until 23 March 2014.

A surge in last-minute ticket sales ahead of the original closing date, coupled with a large number of visits from schools and educational facilities in recent weeks, prompted the decision by organisers to add a further 6 weeks to the run which was originally planned to finish on Sunday 9 February.

“Da Vinci – The Genius enlightens visitors about the unimaginable depth and breadth of Leonardo’s influence and intellectualism. “We have been blown away by the phenomenal response from Cape Town visitors, and we are very excited to now have the opportunity to introduce even more people to Da Vinci – The Genius,” said Tyrone Thöle, managing director of Great World Exhibitions, the company which has brought Da Vinci – The Genius to South Africa and is now promoting and organising the event locally.

“This exhibition is a must-see for anyone who appreciates Leonardo’s exceptional works of art, not least the Mona Lisa, and for anyone who is interested in discovering how Leonardo laid the groundwork for some of modern society’s most impactful inventions, such as the helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine, parachute and bicycle,” he continued.

The codices and Leonardo’s mysterious ‘mirror-writing’ technique

Currently showing at Chavonnes Battery Museum located in the Clock Tower precinct of the V&A Waterfront, Da Vinci – The Genius features more than 200 unique pieces including 75 life-size machine inventions and 3D renderings of Leonardo’s most notable Renaissance works. Plasma touch screen versions of Leonardo’s actual codices (handwritten manuscripts) will allow visitors to enjoy a glimpse into his mysterious alphabet and mirror-writing techniques, which some experts believe he used to disguise his work and findings.

Although Leonardo sketched and conceptualised numerous inventions and ideas, most were never built and none survive today. Da Vinci – The Genius is the most comprehensive exhibition of its kind to bring to life the ideas and concepts written in the codices. Adding an extra layer of authenticity is the fact that the items on display have been faithfully crafted using materials that were available in Leonardo’s day.

A visitor to the exhibition, Monica Blignaut added, “It was fascinating! As someone who was privileged to see the real Mona Lisa in the Louvre, this was a wonderful experience to appreciate and enjoy the mastery and attention the masterpiece deserves. It was factual and enlightening and anyone interested in science, biology or the arts should definitely visit this exhibition.”

25 Secrets of the Mona Lisa

One of the exhibition’s most popular features so far has been the unveiling of the “25 secrets” of Leonardo’s most famous creation, the Mona Lisa. The secrets – the result of two years’ meticulous study involving a 240-megapixel camera that enabled a virtual “peeling away” of five centuries of paint, varnish and restoration work from the iconic painting – have delighted and enthralled visitors who have enjoyed close examination of the lady’s enigmatic smile (amongst other things!) and the exact 360-degree replica of her on display. (The original Mona Lisa, which is far too fragile and priceless to be moved, is housed permanently in the Louvre Museum in Paris.)

For more information and ticket sales, members of the public are invited to visit

Other key attractions of the exhibition include:

- the controversial new Leonardo discovery Bella Principessa;
- his remarkable and ahead-of-their time anatomical sketches;
- preparatory drawings of the Anghiari Battle, a painting that is presently lost but believed to be hidden by a fresco on a Florentine palace;
- three-dimensional interactive presentations of The Last Supper – the painting famously featured by author Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code – the Vitruvian Man and the Sforza Horse sculpture that offer never-before-seen perspectives on these famous works;
- educational activities for children.

The exhibition was developed by Grande Exhibitions, Australia, and the Anthropos Association, Italy (under the kind auspices of the Commune di Roma, Commune di Firenze and Citta Di Venezia, and with the assistance of Pascal Cotte of Lumiere Technologies, France).

If you plan on going:

Date:                            Extended until 23 March 2014
Venue:                         Chavonnes Battery Museum, Clock Tower
                                    V&A Waterfront
Ticket Prices:              Adults: R140 per person
                                    Concessions Seniors (60+)/ Students (18+): R110 per person
                                    Children (Ages 6-17): R90 per person
                                    Children (5 and younger): Free
                                    Family Tickets (2 Adults & 2 Children): R400
Ticket Sales:              Tickets available online at and and at the venue.
Opening Times:         Doors open every day 9:00 to 21:00.
                                    Last admission is 90 minutes prior to closing.

Read more on:    v&a waterfront  |  cape town  |  travel south africa  |  lifestyle

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