I like expositions after the opening days have passed, when the main speaker’s words are finished and the welcome cocktails are just a flavor lost in memory. I prefer the moment when the exhibition hall is empty and only the custodians and the occasional odd visitor pass by the works on display. When the author or curator isn’t there to explain to us the why of that stroke on the canvas or that cleft in the stone. In the midst of this solitude, of this silence without cameras or toasts, the artistic creation captivates me more. So I waited until now to go see “Da Vinci’s Genius,” an exhibition that includes machines designed by the mind of this universal Italian, crafted now with wood, metal… and great ingenuity.
Since June 29, in the White Hall of the Convent of St. Francis of Assisi, a hundred pieces donated by the Anthropos Foundation are on display. Meticulous reproductions of numerous models drawn by the man who has symbolized, for centuries, artistic and scientific genius. The machines of the visionary Da Vinci displayed in a city that was founded in 1519, the year he ceased to exist. Leonardo the engineer, the painter, in the middle of this Havana of the third millennium, sometimes as incomprehensible and visionary as he was, but also as ingenious. Leonardo the Havanan that never was is here now with his prediction of submarines, with the diving suit that he planned in his sketches, the bicycle and the catapult that emerged from his drawings. And all this surprised me between the thick walls of an enormous Church, when the camera flashes had gone leaving only his works before my eyes.
3 August 2012