Decoding Da Vinci

From flying machines to mechanical wonders, Leonardo da Vinci’s codices come to life in new interactive exhibition in Tel Aviv.

Leonardo Da Vinci 500 the first start up man  (photo credit: NOAM MORANO)
Leonardo Da Vinci 500 the first start up man
(photo credit: NOAM MORANO)
It has been 500 years since Leonardo da Vinci’s death. And though he may be best known for iconic images such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, his influence extends far beyond that. He is revered as an architect, engineer, scientist, and philosopher – a true Renaissance man. His extraordinary legacy comes to life in Leonardo da Vinci: 500 The First Start-Up Man, a new and immersive exhibition for the whole family, taking place at Hangar 11 in the Tel Aviv Port.
The exhibition offers visitors the opportunity to discover the life and work of Da Vinci, who laid the foundations for some of the most important inventions of mankind, including prototypes of the airplane, car, submarine, parachute and bicycle
Exhibit-goers will be introduced to Da Vinci through replicas of his masterpieces, inventions, codices and drawings. They will be able to interact with many of these displays to gain an up-close, hands-on understanding of the scientific principles behind them. The exhibition also features a variety of holograms showing 3D animations of the artist’s designs.
As many of Da Vinci’s most famous designs were either attempts at exploring a concept, or showpieces for potential clients, they were never physically created. They existed only on paper and in his mind’s eye. Consequently, to bring the polymath’s designs to life, the exhibition revolves around an impressive collection of giant models built by 80-year-old Italian Prof. Giorgio Cegna, based on Da Vinci’s sketches.
Most famously, Da Vinci studied flight by observing birds, and in particular, the movement of their wings. From these observations he designed his famous glider and flying vessel. A model of his ornithopter, a flying machine that evokes a bat or an eagle, will be suspended in the air as part of the exhibition, as if finally taking flight five centuries after he dreamed it up.
Da Vinci dedicated a lot of his time to the study of weapons and bellicose machines. At the exhibit you can see the bombard, an artillery cannon he designed to easily rotate on an axis, and the large armored car from drawings in the Arundel Codex, which could rotate 360° and was protected with metal sheets.
The exhibit also has examples of civil engineering machines that reveal the inventiveness of Da Vinci’s mind in the areas of mechanics as well as hydraulics.
In addition to Da Vinci’s role as an inventor, the exhibition investigates a collection of his most renowned paintings. While the originals will not be displayed, guests will have the opportunity to thoroughly study the artistic mastery behind such works as Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Portrait of a Young Man, Virgin of the Rocks, St. John the Baptist, and more.
Leonardo da Vinci: 500 The First Start-Up Man will be presented at Federation Hall, Yordei Hasira 1, Tel Aviv Port, and run until April 18. For tickets and more information, visit, or call 03-544-6999.