TOP
 >> Exhibitions
 >> The Mind of Leonardo -The Universal Genius at Work

The Mind of Leonardo -The Universal Genius at Work

The Mind of Leonardo -The Universal Genius at Work / Honkan Special Exhibition Galleries / Room T5   March 20, 2007 (Tue) - June 17, 2007 (Sun)

  
Annunciation (detail) by Leonardo da Vinci
Lent by Galleria degli Uffizi in Florence
Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attività Culturali

Introduces the latest achievements of research pertaining to Leonardo da Vinci, together with the masterpiece Annunciation. The exhibition invites to explore the genius' mode of thinking and his unitary conception of knowledge, in an unprecedented, rounded overview of the achievements of the genius.

 General Information
Period Tuesday, March 20 - Sunday, June 17, 2007
Venue RoomT5, Honkan; Special Exhibition Galleies, Heiseikan; Tokyo National Museum (Ueno Park)
Hours 9:30 - 17:00
Saturdays, Sundays, Holidays until 18:00,
Fridays; Everyday April 27 - May 6, 2007 until 20:00
(last entry 30 minutes before closing)
Closed Mondays (Except for Monday, April 30, 2007)
Admissions Adult 1,500 (1,300/1,200)yen
University students 1,200 (1,000/800)yen
High school students 900 (700/500)yen
Elementary and junior high school students are admitted free.
* Prices shown in ( ) indicate advance-discount/group (more than 20 persons) tickets.
* Persons with physical or mental disabilities are allowed free entry with one accompanying person.
* Ticket prices include admission to regular exhibitions.
* Advance tickets are on sale until March 19, 2007 at the Tokyo National Museum, JR Reservation Ticket Offices and View Plaza at major JR stations,Ticket Pia(P-code: Advance tickets=687-199; Day tickets=687-200), Lawson tickets(L-code: 30000), CNplayguide, Eplus, JTB, Circle K, Sunkus, Seven Eleven and following playguides.
Access 10 minutes' walk from JR Ueno Station (Park exit) and Uguisudani Station
15 minutes' walk from Keisei Ueno Station, Tokyo Metro Ueno Station, and Tokyo Metro Nezu Station.
Organizers Executive Committee for "PRIMAVERA ITALIANA 2007"; Tokyo National Museum; The Asahi Shimbun; NHK; NHK Promotions
With the High Patronage of The President of the Italian Republic
With the support of The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Japan; Agency for Cultural Affairs of Japan; Ministero degli Affari Esteri della Repubblica Italiana; Ministero per i Beni e le Attivita Culturali della Repubblica Italiana
With the special sponsorship of Hitachi Group
With the cooperation of Alitalia; East Japan Railway Company; Mitsui Sumitomo Insurance Co.,Ltd.
General Inquiries 03-5777-8600 (Hello Dial: in Japanese)
Exhibition Official Website http://www.leonardo2007.jp/en/ (in English)
The website has closed with the end of the exhibition.
 Related lectures
  Commemorative lecture
The Mind of Leonardo
by Paolo Galluzzi (Director, Institute and Museum of the History of Science, Florence)
Auditorium, Heiseikan
Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 13:30 - 15:00 (in Italian and Japanese)
Renaissance through Leonardo
by Ikegami Hidehiro (Associate Professor, Keisen University, The supervisor of the exhibition in Japan)
Auditorium, Heiseikan
Saturday, April 21, 2007 at 13:30 - 15:00 (in Japanese)
 Related events
  Concerts Celebrating the Birthday of Leonardo da Vinci
The Annunciation
by Cappella : A Vocal Ensemble
Hyokeikan
Sunday, April 15, 2007 at 11:00-
Renaissance Court Music
by Anthonello
Hyokeikan
Sunday, April 15, 2007 at 14:00-
  Tickets for both concerts are sold at: (from March 10, 2007)
— Tokyo National Museum Ticket Office (Main Gate) sold out
Open 9:30 - 16:30 when the museum is open
* 9:30 - 17:30 on Holidays, Saturdays, and Sundays March 24 - April 14, 2007
* 9:30 - 19:30 on Fridays March 23 - April 13, 2007 * Closed on Mondays
— LAWSON Tickets sold out
Order by phone (operator answered): 0570-000-407 (L-code is 30415)
 Major Works on Display  
Room5, Honkan
Annunciation, an early epic by Leonardo da Vinci who is known as the universal genius, will be displayed for the first time in Japan.
Annunciation
*Click the number for an interpretation
  Annunciation
by Leonardo da Vinci
1472-73
Su concessione del Ministero per i Beni e le Attivit・Culturali


Annunciation is the first artwork painted independently by Leonardo da Vinci after being anointed as a fully-fledged master. His extraordinary skill is already apparent in this balanced composition, which also displays the interest in nature to which he was to devote himself to in later years. In Annunciation, there are examples of every element seen in Leonardo's subsequent works.
Traces of his Training at the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio
(detail)
  1. Traces of his Training at the Workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio
Leonardo spent his teenage years at the workshop of the artist Andrea del Verrocchio. In those times there were no art schools in the modern sense; apprentices were assigned the task of replicating their masters' work, acquiring by emulation the techniques and skills of the professionals. The marble table in front of the Virgin Mary imitates the sarcophagus of Piero and Giovanni de Medici in the Basilica of San Lorenzo, which was sculpted by Verrocchio during the same period. Leonardo was slightly over twenty years old at the time, and traces of his apprenticeship at Verrocchio's workshop can be seen here.
    2. Symmetric Composition
Two techniques that emerged during the Renaissance were symmetry and perspective. The Virgin is placed on the observer's right and the Archangel Gabriel on the left in this landscape screen. The screen can be divided vertically into five rectangles, and both the Virgin and the Archangel fit equally into adjacent triangles. It is a well-ordered symmetric composition, typical of an artist who sought numerical order all his life.
Aerial Perspective(detail)
(detail)
  3. First Example of Aerial Perspective
Auxiliary lines drawn from the building and figures converge on one point in the middle of the screen. This "single-point perspective" was one of the more advanced techniques of the Renaissance. Aerial perspective is used in the landscape in the background; distant objects are slightly blurred and pale in colour; this phenomenon, caused by the humidity in the air, was discovered by Leonardo. Although it was much later that the idea of aerial perspective was theorized, he had already used this technique to create the subtle and profound world of the Mona Lisa.
Naturalistic Observation of Plant Life(detail)
(detail)
  4. Naturalistic Observation of Plant Life
Leonardo displayed his keen observation of nature in depictions of plant life. The Lily held by the Archangel Gabriel, signifying the virtue of the Virgin, has a realistic feeling, surpassing mere symbology. The flowers blooming at the Archangel's feet include daisies, irises, and lilies. Leonardo's realistic interpretation of nature is accurate enough to distinguish the varieties of flowers and grasses painted in the foreground and of the trees in the background.
Outstanding Skill of Three Dimensional Depiction(detail)
(detail)
  5. Outstanding Skill of Three Dimensional Depiction
Leonardo's relative immaturity can still be seen in this painting, in the rather taut facial expression and rigidity of figure. However, his strength of three dimensional depiction is fully displayed in the delicate hair of the figures and the drapery of the cloth, which invokes the sense that the human figures truly inhabit it. Although he was barely over twenty years old and at the beginning of his career, Annunciation showed that Leonardo already possessed a consummate understanding of the fundamental skills required by a painter of the Renaissance.
Special Exhibition Galleries, Heiseikan
An approach to the mind of the universal genius through latest research
*All exhibited codices are reproductions.
The man in the circle and square, from Video animation after Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Virtruvian Man
The man in the circle and square, from a Video animation after Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Virtruvian Man
Leonardo da Vinci, Compass for drawing parabolas and its reproduction after the codex, from Codex Atlanticus, codex: Ambrogiana Library, Milan, model: Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence
Leonardo da Vinci, Compass for drawing parabolas and its reproduction after the codex, from Codex Atlanticus, codex: Ambrogiana Library, Milan, model: Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza, Florence
Leonardo da Vinci, Flying ship and its reproduction after the codex, from Ms. Ashburnham, codex: Institut de France, Paris, model: Opera Laboratori Fiorentini, Florence
Leonardo da Vinci, Flying ship and its reproduction after the codex, from Ms. Ashburnham, codex: Institut de France, Paris, model: Opera Laboratori Fiorentini, Florence
  Leonardo da Vinci, Centrally planned church and its reproduction after the codex, from Ms. Ashburnham, codex: Institut de France, Paris, model: Opera Laboratori Fiorentini, Florence
Leonardo da Vinci, Centrally planned church and its reproduction after the codex, from Ms. Ashburnham, codex: Institut de France, Paris, model: Opera Laboratori Fiorentini, Florence
 
The codices which contain Leonardo's manuscripts and drawings from his 30's, are essential in unravelling Leonardo's creative world. Currently some eight thousand pages are preserved in various parts of the world; however, it is said that possibly more than twice this number are still missing.
The contents of codices vary from astronomy to architectonics, studies of water, wind, flight, anatomy, technology and so forth. Leonardo used drawings not only to record the results of his observation of nature and the human body but also to visualize invisible things and unshaped ideas.
The exhibition will offer the opportunity to explore Leonardo's mind through models and videos produced from Leonardo's drawings- for example, the plan for Gran Cavallo, a gigantic statue of a horse which was to be more than 7 meters tall, and his etchings of imaginary flying machines.
L eonardo da Vinci was born on 15 April 1452 in the village of Vinci, just outside Florence, Italy. Dedicating his 20's to learning painting and crafts in Florence, he was then to move to Milan, entering the service of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, in whose court he subsequently enjoyed a fair amount of success and notoriety.

Vasari mentions in his Lives of the most Eminent Painters, Sculptors and Architects (first published in 1550) that the greatness of Leonardo "was seen by all mankind in Leonardo da Vinci, in whom, besides a beauty of body never sufficiently extolled, there was an infinite grace in all his actions; and so great was his genius, and such its growth, that to whatever difficulties he turned his mind, he solved them with ease..."

Besides Vasari's statement and Leonardo's personal notebooks, a wealth of information indicative of his personality still remains. Two contradictory characters emerge from these accounts. One is an outgoing, confident, intellectual, humorous and elegant gentleman, while the other is unconfident, stubborn, and ascetic. Most likely, Leonardo wore both faces. As an illegitimate son, Leonardo, though born into an affluent, prosperous family, was denied the opportunity of a formal education. Obtaining an apprenticeship at 13, he subsequently spent his life immersed in the study of a broad variety of complex and technical subjects. Yet despite his firm grasp of such matters and an apparently genius, he was still seemingly struck by feelings of intellectual inferiority that stemmed from a perceived notion that without such formal schooling. However, as he grew intellectually, he began to show an intense fascination in subjects such as the mechanism of biopoiesis, quite likely provoked by strong longing for the mother from whom he was separated when young. His feelings for her were so powerful and complex that the selection of motif and delineation in his paintings quite evidently suggests a preoccupation with maternity.

Leonardo was to remain single for his entire life; he failed to settle in one place on account of the dangers present in Europe in those politically and socially turbulent times; and was to travel to many countries at the behest of his talent. Living as he did during the Age of Geographical Discovery, he additionally developed a keen interest in the physical earth itself. His talent both benefited from, and blossomed under the Renaissance, an era of significant change and cultural enlightenment throughout society. Truly, he was a child of the age. In his final years, he accepted an invitation from the young king Francis I to enter into his service in France, where he was to spend the remainder of his life, living in Amboise, he died peacefully in 1519.