Thanks to a donation made by the Italian Foundation Anthropos, the permanent exhibition The genius of Leonardo da Vinci is exhibited in Cuba, in the Salón Blanco of Old Havana’s Saint Francis of Assisi Convent.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) is, without doubt, a genius of the Renaissance. Painter, sculptor, architect, scientist, engineer and inventor – all in all, he was a creator in every sense of the word. His vast work is not just limited to the field of the Fine Arts: it includes physics, anatomy, mechanics and astronomy.
In many of his sketches and drawings he roughed out some of the great inventions and dreams that became reality centuries later, like bicycles, flying machines, submarines, war tanks, and other mechanisms of engineering.
Thanks to a donation made by the Italian Foundation Anthropos, the permanent exhibition The genius of Leonardo da Vinci is exhibited in Cuba, in the Salón Blanco of the Saint Francis of Assisi Convent.
In the words of Marco Baccini, ambassador from Rome in Havana, it is \"a very generous gesture, which will serve to deepen fraternal bonds and cultural exchanges between Cuba and Italy.\"
The Italian Anthropos Foundation, in charge of spreading da Vinci’s work by way of traveling exhibitions, has organized some 15 displays of high cultural, informational and educational value.
Permanent museums, with the same conception as that in Cuba, are located in several Latin American cities, like São Paulo, Buenos Aires and Santiago de Chile. There are two similar institutions in the United States: one in Washington and the other in California.
Meanwhile, in Italy, the exhibition located at Rome’s Leonardo da Vinci Airport hardly ever closes its doors, due to the avalanche of people visiting it all the time. So far, the Havana exhibition is the only one of its kind in Central America and the Caribbean.
Anthropos representative Sergio Terni expressed his satisfaction with the exhibition, as through it Cuban students and children \"can closely appreciate the principles of physics and dynamics.\"
In addition to the wonderful inventions of da Vinci, the exhibition is accompanied by extensive digital documentation and a pedagogical multimedia on the work of one of the main figures of the Renaissance.
\"I wanted to depict this side of Leonardo’s genius. He was also a philosopher. For him, philosophy and poetry were the human being and humankind in general,\" commented Terni.
Five years ago, specialists from the Sacred Art Museum of the Saint Francis of Assisi Convent took the first steps for the inauguration of this exhibition in Havana.
In this regard, museology expert Emilio Sarandeces pointed out:
\"In June 2012, the arrival in Havana of about 100 pieces materialized, and installation works began in Salón Blanco of the Saint Francis of Assisi Convent.
“This is a Scientific-Technical Museum, whose pieces are arranged in the discourse of the inventions and machinery that Leonardo da Vinci drew in his codices, in his sketches, based on the principles of physics and mechanics, trying to find improvements in human labor by way of these machines and labor power, turned into energy.\"
The exhibition will remain in Cuba, and only some pieces will be removed to make room for others that will come from Italy every six months or so. That’s the reason why the museum will have a permanent specialist for restoration works.
According to Sarandeces, another novelty will be the incorporation of the expressions for which da Vinci is best known in the West, and especially in world culture and fine arts.
\"It will be a dialogue between Leonardo and other great Renaissance artists: Botticelli, Michelangelo and Perugino. Da Vinci’s works will be presented as well. The Last Supper can’t be overlooked.\"
One of the great attractions will be The mysteries of the Mona Lisa, since it includes the latest revelations by French scientist Pascal Cotte, who scanned da Vinci’s painting at 240 mega-pixels, that is, 150,000 dots per inch, with a camera of his own design.
These machines and mock-ups, present today in full scale in the Salón Blanco of the Saint Francis of Assisi Convent, were faithfully reproduced by skilled artisans under the supervision of experienced engineers.
These reproductions have made it possible to appreciate, live, the magic and workings of da Vinci’s inventions - the great genius of the Renaissance.
Translated by Brenda Sheehan
Revised by Susana Hurlich