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‘The da Vinci Machines’ Exhibition In The 'Naki

24 February 2006

‘The da Vinci Machines’ Exhibition Add to Creativity in Taranaki

Puke Ariki is proud to present an exhibition that brings to life some of the designs of one of history’s greatest genius minds’, the artist-engineer Leonardo da Vinci.

‘The da Vinci Machines – Inventions and Designs of a Genius’ exhibition is based on Leonardo’s famous codices and features authentic reconstructions of military, mechanical, hydraulic and flying machines by Florentine artisans using materials available in 15th Century Italy. Each model was built according to Leonardo’s notes and drawings.

“I am delighted to welcome this outstanding exhibition here. Taranaki is a region that inspires and nurtures creativity and innovation in many areas; engineering, design, painting, sculpture, photography, literature and poetry. I expect the show will generate great interest as Puke Ariki is the second and final venue in New Zealand to host it”, says manager Puke Ariki Bill Macnaught.

The Auckland War Memorial Museum first hosted the exhibition and has commented on it being one of their most popular and successful shows. The models on display were produced by the Teknoart Group, a team of Florentine Artisans.

In conjunction with the exhibition Puke Ariki will present an outstanding events programme that will run for the duration of the show. “Our education team report they already have record bookings from schools throughout the region to view and study the exhibition,” says Mr Macnaught

“Leonardo da Vinci was a creative genius in a multitude of disciplines and was widely known for his exceptional paintings of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper”. Most people are not aware of how important his inventions were: his bicycle, airplane and parachute were 500 years ahead of their time,” says Mr Macnaught.

Leonardo da Vinci was born in the Tuscan town of Vinci in 1452, an unwanted, illegitimate son of a local lawyer and peasant girl. He was apprenticed as a painter in Florence eventually becoming a ‘master’ in his own right after being allowed to paint his first angel in Andrea del Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ. It is said the angel was so beautiful that Leonardo’s master abandoned painting forever!

Leonardo moved to Milan in 1482 where he offered his services to the Duke of Milan as an engineer, sculptor and architect. He became chief military engineer, a position he held for 17 years.

But he also showed remarkable insight in the world of science, geology and anatomy. Leonardo was the first man to dissect an eye and discover the optic nerve connected to the brain and postulated for the first time that light travels in a straight line at a given speed.
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Leonardo died in 1519, some say in the arms of the French King, Francis 1st, others that he died alone. Although much mystery still surrounds the man, his legacy to the world remains relevant and impressive to this day.

Mr Macnaught says, “Taranaki is well-known as a centre of excellence in engineering. Puke Ariki is helping to position New Plymouth as one of the most creative cities in New Zealand. This exhibition offers a perfect combination of engineering and creativity and will appeal to a wide audience.”

The da Vinci Machines – Inventions and Designs of a Genius’
26 March – 28 May 2006
Generously sponsored by:
Reeves Middleton Young Lawyers and Notary Public
Transfield Worley Ltd
Beca Ltd
Macfarlanes Catering


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