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And now for something completely different…(and if you get the Monty Python reference then you are my people!)

Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.

– Leonardo da Vinci

I’ve always been fascinated by Leonardo da Vinci. I first learned about this Renaissance genius Italian polymath in my high school European History class; and I’ve remained fascinated by his works all my life.

The first Leonardo da Vinci exhibit I attended was when I lived in Houston, Texas at the Museum of Fine Arts. The second exhibit I attended was in British Columbia at the Royal British Columbia Museum, Victoria, Canada when I lived in Seattle, Washington (British Columbia is fairly close to the Pacific Northwestern part of the US and we took the Victoria Clipper ferry from Washington state to Victoria).

Here is one of my favorite posters of all time that I put up on the wall wherever I live since I purchased it in 1999 at the exhibit:

Last August I visited the exhibit Leonardo da Vinci: 500 Years of Genius at the Denver Museum of Nature and Science and I thought I would share some highlights of this exhibit with you (I meant to blog about it last year after I attended, and I forgot…)

Here is an excerpt of the description of the exhibit from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science

Although Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519, his influence has endured. His extraordinary legacy comes to life…through a variety of experiences that illustrate why the ultimate Renaissance man remains an inspiration for the ages. 

    • See nearly 70 of Leonardo’s machine inventions, built using detailed concepts from his famous codices (notebooks), including a helicopter, airplane, automobile, submarine and military tank.
    • Explore the exclusive “The Secrets of Mona Lisa,” an analysis of the iconic painting conducted at the Louvre by scientific engineer and photographer Pascal Cotte.
    • Be immersed in Leonardo’s works through a multisensory cinematic experience using Grande Exhibitions’ SENSORY4 technology.
    • Test a Leonardo-inspired catapult, and encounter the Museum’s historical enactors, presenting characters who bring a personal perspective to the story of Leonardo.

What was most amazing about this exhibit (besides the whole room dedicated to the science and the mystery behind the Mona Lisa) was seeing life size models of da Vinci’s creations from his drawings in his famous notebooks.

By the way – throughout the exhibit they had enlarged reproductions of da Vinci’s famous backward writing on the walls of the exhibit:

Leonardo Machine Inventions Brought to Life From His Notebooks

Here are some of the machine models created from da Vinci’s drawings for this exhibit and reproductions of the original drawings.

Anatomic Drawings and  Vitruvian Man 

The exhibit also had a section on da Vinci’s anatomic drawings and his famous Virtuvian Man . Here are a couple images from that section:

The Mona Lisa

The exhibit also had an amazing section on the mysteries of the Mona Lisa. It was the most crowded section of the exhibit.

As I mentioned unfortunately it was very crowded in this part of the exhibit and I did not get to spend as much time as I’d like to.

The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is pretty awesome and we’ve attend several other awesome exhibits there in the past (see post The Art of the Brick).


Around the time I first learned about Leonardo da Vinci (in high school), I also discovered Monty Python.

There is no relation to the two, but I opened this post with a Monty Python reference and now I am going to close it with a clip of one of my favorite Monty Python skits:

Ministry of Silly Walks

I dare you not to laugh, John Cleese is so brilliant in it. I’ve seen this clip many times and it always brings a smile to my face (and most times a belly laugh!)

41 thoughts on “Leonardo…”

  1. thanks so much for the art today! appreciate you giving us this virtual tour – esp when a lot of museums are closed our have limited hours –
    and the Monty Python was nicely bookmarked – hahahah

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Oh no – I did not mean to scare your dog – ha! I am so glad my post brought some laughter to your day. My photos were terrible because of the dark exhibit but glad you were able to enjoy them 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Tierney! I’ll bet if you had interviewed the Monty Python actors back in the day you’d have found at least one inspired by Leonardo. Anyway, you are so fortunate to live near great museums.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am one of your people! My husband and I love watching Monty Python. John Cleese is genius! I had to share the clip with my husband. As for Leo, I am amazed by how his brain worked. Fascinating man.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. When I am helping a student find their class, I say “walk this way” and proceed to walk like a goof ball. That’s also a shout out to Mel Brooks. If you like MB then you are one of my people!! 😂

        Liked by 1 person

  4. Indeed- genius to put these two together- I really enjoyed the exhibition with you, especially the Mona Lisa’s eyebrows! As for Monty Python- the numerous quotes from the show are part of our every day conversation- know what I mean, nudge, nudge!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much and I had more photos but it was so dark in the exhibit I did not want to bore everyone with more of my poor photography – ha! You are obviously my people if you incorporate MP into your daily life. We want a shrubbery!


  5. yes! leonardo is my favorite historical person! we visited clos luce in france, his last home. they had models of many of his inventions there too. i have many books on him in my library.

    and, i am a monty python fan too! we quote them all the time…”run away, run away” , “shrubbery”, “harold, the flying sheep”…and fawlty towers too!!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is right – you have gone on some amazing European adventures and bike trips! That is so awesome you got to see his last home! Okay I have to go check out some shrubbery now 😉


  6. This exhibit came to a small museum 30 miles from me–what a treat! I saved the poster, with the picture you showed. And just for entertainment I looked back on a few John Cleese clips. Great diversion for these sad times!

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