Leonardo da Vinci in Huntsville, Alabama

The US Space & Rocket center in Huntsville, Alabama hosted a traveling exhibition of Leonardo da Vinci provided by Grande Exhibitions & the Anthropos Association. The Italian Artisans, headed by Modesto Veccia, a Vincian expert from Florence, have for the past decade been studying Leonardo’s codices and creating the machine inventions contained in this exhibition.

“It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.” -Leonardo da Vinci

I thought I had an idea of who da Vinci was, famous painter (Mona Lisa), the sculptor (the horse), and mechanical inventor (flywheels, ball bearings systems, coil spring). I had no idea how intelligent and driven to perfection da Vinci was.

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.” -Leonardo da Vinci

Below are a few photos from the display, unfortunately my battery died in my camera before I barely started.

Leonardo used a special kind of shorthand that he invented himself, but usually used “mirror image writing”, starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left. Some historians speculate he did it to keep his writings private, others think that because he was left-handed he just found it easier and faster to write this way. Either way, you’d have to be a genius to keep up with what you’re writing.



I did not know that da Vinci was not educated in what was typical of the time. Da Vinci did not learn Latin or study with the clergy. He couldn’t read or learn from books, maybe that was why he invented his own shorthand. Leonardo learned through observation & experience. This was a trait he applied in everything he did.

Some of Leonardo’s most inventive activities focused on weapons of war. Some of his early designs are practical and easily constructed; emergency swing bridges and ladders.

Below is a photo showing a device for protecting the horse. The horse would go in between the 2 ends with metal blades that spun. However the poles prevented the horse from being allowed to turn and could only move forward in a straight line. Leonardo decided that the horse would probably become frighten and bolt under war conditions. I found this interesting.


Leonardo also designed the first tank and helicopter. Below is a scaled down model of the tank and helicopter.

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I would like to thank French scientific engineer Pascal Cotte, inventor of the first multispectral camera for his display of the Mona Lisa. He was granted the privileged rights to take incredibly high definition pictures and was able to produce and examine detailed images ranging from ultraviolet to infrared. Although I didn’t get to see the real Mona Lisa, Cotte’s display is as close as you can imagine. The detail was extraordinary and the colors amazing.

My small account did not do the display or Leonardo da Vince justice but wanted to share it. If the display comes to a city near you I recommend going to see it.

“The poet ranks far below the painter in the representation of visible things, and far below the musician in that of invisible things.” -Leonardo da Vinci