Da Vinci – The Genius; exhibition review

‘Da Vinci – the Genius’ new exhibition in the V&A Waterfront, reveals many extraordinary things about the man and his brilliant mind. Did you know that he wrote in mirror image from right to left? Perhaps it was because he was left handed, perhaps to keep his notes from a 15thcentury Roman Catholic Church in search of heretics.

The exhibition is in the Chavonnes Battery Museum; interesting in itself for the old Dutch fort excavations and sandy shoreline from the time of Jan van Riebeek. But from now until March 2014 Da Vinci takes centre stage here, with interactive, life-size replicas of many of his inventions. He was so far ahead of his time when he invented underwater breathing equipment, flying machines, a sort of submarine, image projectors and you can even see his drawings for aeronautical bullets. There was barely anything that Da Vinci didn’t dabble in and children are encouraged to visit and dabble with the exhibits for themselves.

What fascinated me most were the revelations about Mona Lisa. This enigmatic lady might just have lost some of her mystery, thanks to Frenchman Pascal Cotte, who designed a camera that takes images at 250 million pixels across the whole light spectrum. His photographs of Mona Lisa (apparently we should be calling Monna), reveal what the original would have looked like and all the past restorations. Such are the extraordinary high resolution zoom qualities that it shows Leonardo did paint eyebrows and eyelashes. He was a total perfectionist so why wouldn’t he, but such fine detail, painted with a single brush hair, disappeared with time and heavy handed restoration.

And thus the mystery of why Da Vinci painted Monna Lisa without eyebrows and lashes is unlocked. There are many more secrets of Mona Lisa unveiled, but you’ll have to visit for yourself and to see how she would have looked in 1505.

What’s your favourite Leonardo da Vinci painting?

A review by Cape Grace Blogger Carrie Hampton



Discover Cape Town

A little more to explore.

Our blog serves as a guide and gateway for the luxury traveller. Through our well-informed concierge team, we provide our readers with up to date information on the finest restaurants and places to explore in and around the Mother City.
Featured50 Reasons to Travel to Cape Town
If you are passionate about food and looking to experience a vibrant, cosmopolitan city that is packed with activities and surrounded by nature, Cape Town is the perfect place to be. As the home of our beloved former president and national treasure, Nelson Mandela, Cape Town is a city steeped in history with plenty of secrets and exciting locations to discover. Embraced by the Atlantic Ocean and the majestic Table Mountain, tourists and locals alike are greeted by magnificent scenery …
FeaturedCape Town's Secret Six
Believe us when we say, all you want for Christmas is an enchanting, unforgettable experience at Cape Town’s most fantastic, yet least known, locations. These gems are hidden in plain sight and those in the know, know. So now that you know, go forth and enjoy a day or two of exploring what we like to call Cape Town’s Secret Six. Sunrise at Kloof Corner Put on your walking shoes and head for Tafelberg Road. Park at the …
FeaturedFynbos: The Cape's best kept secret
You have heard about Table Mountain, Cape Point and certainly the V&A Waterfront. Vineyards. Wine. Beaches. But have you heard about the incredible diversity of fynbos? Fynbos is the best-kept secret of the Cape and yet it is everywhere on display. The Proteas, bushes and grasses that cover the mountains and scrublands of the Western Cape constitute one of the world’s six floral Kingdoms. It is an ancient, fascinating Kingdom that has a unique relationship with its …
Subscribe to our Newsletter
Stay up-to-date with our hotel’s latest developments as well as our concierge team’s top recommendations regarding the best places to visit in and around Cape Town.
Physical Address
  • West Quay Road
    Victoria & Alfred Waterfront
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • Postal Address
  • PO Box 51387
    Waterfront 8001
    Cape Town
    South Africa
  • © 2023 Cape Grace. Proudly crafted by PlusPlusMinus
    © 2023 Cape Grace. Proudly crafted by PlusPlusMinus