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Inspired by nature – Drawings and models

October 11 2013 – August 3 2014
Special exhibition space, Level 1

The exhibition explores the question of how Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519), as an engineer and inventor, arrived at scientific knowledge through the study of nature, which he recorded in great detail and with perfect drawings in his notebooks. These manuscripts, now scattered among many libraries, served in the 1950s as the basis for models that interpret his ideas in the form of three-dimensional representations.

Spectacular exhibits, drawings, historical models, hands-on, audiovisuals, multimedia are on display in this innovative exhibition conceived by Universcience (including la Cité des sciences et de l’industrie in Paris). The exhibition was developed in cooperation with the Deutsches Museum and the “Museo Nazionale della Scienza e della Tecnologia Leonardo da Vinci” in Milan with the support of the Airbus Group. Leonardo's insights are related to those of his contemporaries who were engaged in similar technical and scientific studies.

The exhibition, which includes many hands-on and multimedia demonstrations, highlights five key themes from the many areas explored by Leonardo and his contemporaries: It begins with four large screens where visitors can display details of Leonardo's exciting life and his impressive works. The first section, entitled "Transforming movement" shows lifting devices and drive mechanisms. In the second, "Preparing for war", visitors will see armoured tanks and weapons. The section "Imagining flight" includes Leonardo's studies on bird flight, among other exhibits. In "Improving manufacturing", examples of tools and production machinery can be seen, including a loom. The fifth section, "Unifying knowledge", contains exhibits illustrating how Leonardo created a synthesis of the knowledge gained. The exhibition culminates in "Drawing inspiration from living organisms", with a presentation of modern technologies and developments rooted in the natural world. Of course, SmartBird is among them.

Because the Deutsches Museum has an extensive collection of impressive facsimiles of Leonardo's manuscripts as well as original publications by his contemporaries, we have complemented the exhibition with holdings from our library.

Partners of the exhibition: