Friday, December 19, 2014

A visit to ArtScience Museum: Da Vinci: Shaping the Future

Leonardo da Vinci is possibly a man ahead of his time. I look up to him as he was not only a well-known artist, he was also a scientist. Several years ago, there was an exhibition, Da Vinci The Genius, held at the Science Centre Singapore. I remembered I was attracted to the art-related sections of that exhibition during a visit.

Currently, the exhibition entitled Da Vinci: Shaping the Future held at ArtScience Museum. Being drawn to learn more about Leonardo da Vinci, I made a special trip to the ArtScience Museum to catch this exhibition a week ago.

Da Vinci's designs for flying machines.
In this section, visitors can see Da Vinci's design for a parachute.

Da Vinci: Shaping the Future held at the ArtScience Museum will feature five different themes that represent Leonardo da Vinci as a multi-talented person during his life time. The five themes that are featured are: Mathematics, Natural Science, Architecture, Technology and Music.

A video on Da Vinci's The Last Supper.

The main focus of this exhibition at the ArtScience Museum is the Codex Atlanticus, Da Vinci's largest notebook.The Codex Atlanticus recorded innovative designs and stunning artistic sketches. These records reveal Da Vinci's ideas and how his thinking remains relevant even today. Visitors ought to take note that for the first time in Southeast Asia, 13 original pages from Da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus are presented in this exhibition. In Feb 2015, these 13 pages will be replaced by another set of 13 pages from the Codex Atlanticus. I was pretty intrigued by Da Vinci's talents to interweave the connections between different disciplines. What a genius he was.

Military designs.

It is very apt that Da Vinci: Shaping the Future is held at Singapore's ArtScience Museum which explores the intersection between art, science and technology.

My favourite section was the section on Technology. In this section, there are many interactive exhibits on display. I was fascinated with da Vinci's studies of mechanical tools and military equipment. Da Vinci's design demonstrated his understanding of the forces of Nature to solve daily practical issues.

Wall Protection System made based on sketches by Da Vinci.

In conjunction with this exhibition, there are a wide range of programmes and activities being organized. If time is limited, I recommend that visitors at least consider participating in one of the public guided tours to the exhibition. These public tours are complimentary to ticket holders for the exhibition. Each tour can take up to 25 visitors, on a first-come, first-served basis. Registration is required 5 minutes before the start of the tour. The public guided tours are held at the following timings:

  • English tour: Saturdays and Sundays from 22 Nov 2014: 11.30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
  • English tour: Mondays to Fridays from 24 Nov 2014: 1 p.m.
  • Mandarin tour: Saturdays and Sundays: 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.

There are a number of interactive exhibits that will prove to be engaging for families. I was pretty engaged by the activities of making three-dimensional platonic solids out of two-dimensional cardboard.

2D to 3D Shapes: Platonic Solids

I am ambivalent about whether to recommend this exhibition. While there is an extensive number of interactive exhibits on display, a number of such exhibits have subsequently been classified as "do not touch" exhibits possibly due to the high volume of visitor-ship that has led to faster than expected tear-and-wear of many of these interactive exhibits. I suppose it helps to go for this exhibition with minimal expectation and an open mind.

This automatic drum is made by craftsmen to work.
Yet I remember that there is a "Please Do-Not-Touch" sign.
Hopefully the sign will preserve the exhibit for a longer period of time.

Then again, for anyone who is interested to get a glimpse of the ingenuity and innovative mind of Leonardo da Vinci, this exhibition will bring a lot of interesting design ideas if one is willing to spend hours and hours studying the records on the Codex Atlanticus rather intensively. Please bring along warm clothings to keep yourself warm. The air-conditioning at the exhibition halls can be pretty cold for some. If possible, the studious ones who are studying the records on the Codex Atlanticus could consider visiting the exhibition during non-peak hours.

Families with children will find this exhibition pretty fascinating and engaging if these families visit the exhibition and participate in the various interactive activities together as a family unit.

Da Vinci's Archimedes' Screw. This device can lift water from low to high ground.
One of the hands-on exhibit on display.

Da Vinci: Shaping the Future
ArtScience Museum
Marina Bay Sands
Operating hours: 10 a.m. - 7 p.m. daily, including public holidays
Last admission at 6 p.m.
Please visit the Welcome to the Museum's page for notifications of ArtScience Museum closures.
Admission fee: $19 per adult for Singapore citizens (Please produce your identity card for verification.)
For more visitors' information, please visit:

No comments: