Da Vinci rolls into Vegas
By Kathy Chin Leong

StatesNevJan13-5.jpgImagine having a friend with the Midas touch who could impeccably illustrate, paint, sing, invent, perform complex computations, and advise military strategists. That same friend could write artistically in mirrored handwriting and also come up with unique painting techniques and create pulleys and systems that would make everyday life easier. And if you lived in the 15th century, your pal would be none other than Leonardo Da Vinci.

And you'd probably be insanely jealous of the guy who obsessed about details and observed nature in a way to apply the rhythms of creation in all his inventions. During his lifetime, he was incredibly prolific. To boil down all he did in his 67 years is not easy to do, but the current exhibit at the Venetian Hotel is extremely informative with interactive displays, painting replicas and models. It may make you feel like you haven't done much with your paltry existence when you are done walking through the story of his life.

The travelling Da Vinci exhibit is worth the admission of $25, for you will learn more about this man in an hour or so than if you were to read a book on his life. (You can look around and find 20 percent off coupons also.) While kids under 12 are free when accompanied by a paying adult, I would say that kids at least in fifth grade would find this interesting. In addition, the exhibits here are replicas of his work, so you won't find the real Mona Lisa or the Last Supper painting.

However, what you do find are models based on his illustrations made in tiny sketch books. The Italian all-around genius came up with ideas that are the basis of today's inventions: the airplane, the scuba diving suit, the parachute, the helicopter, the bicycle, pulleys, and more.

StatesNevJan13-3.jpgOn display are over 200 pieces,75 model machine inventions and 13 themed areas showcasing his life's work. To get the most out of the exhibit, you should take your time to read and absorb the enormity of what Da Vinci did. Although he was a pacifist, he was called upon to give advice to the top military strategists, for he invented canons and sophisticated weaponry, projectile launchers and more.

You see in this exhibit, Da Vinci the inventor, the musician, and the artist. As a musician, he was said to be an excellent singer and asked to perform before the powerful and wealthy. He also invented several musical instruments such as a two-pronged flute and a portable keyboard which a harness.

As an artist, he was extremely accurate when it came to drawing the human anatomy. During a time when autopsies were illegal, he somehow was able to sketch, in detail, bones and organs and human tissue. His renderings were so precise; they are the basis for the illustrations in the medical treatise, Gray's Anatomy.

StatesNevJan13-4.jpgThose with curiosity and the willingness to learn will get the most out of this exhibit. Those who are waiting to be wowed by eye candy and a myriad of multi-sensory displays may feel like there's not enough to see.

Most intriguing aspects come at the end of the exhibit where there is a thorough explanation of the Mona Lisa and a true replica of what the original colors could have been like prior to fading over the centuries. In addition, a short movie about The Last Supper gives interesting background and explanations of how he came up with the faces that would represent each disciple reclining at the table. Go to the exhibit before it closes at the end of January, take your time, and be inspired.

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Leonardo Da Vinci-The Genius, now through January 27
Venetian Hotel
3355 Las vegas Blvd. South, Las Vegas
Box office: 702/484-9000
Hours: 10-8
Tickets: $25 for general admission; $23 for military and seniors 65 and older; and $20 for Nevada residents. Children age 12 and under for free when accompanied by a paying adult.

Tickets can be purchased at Imagine Exhibitions Gallery, The Venetian box office or online at www.Venetian.com.

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