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September 20, 2017

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Photos: A sneak peek at new Leonardo da Vinci exhibit at the Venetian


Tom Donoghue /

“Da Vinci: The Exhibition” at the Venetian.

‘Da Vinci: The Exhibition’ at Venetian

“Da Vinci: The Exhibition” at the Venetian. Launch slideshow »

Leonardo Da Vinci on BBC

There is no question that Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest scientists and artists the world has ever known. His art including “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” has mesmerized millions through the centuries. His inventions have been the beginnings of more modern-day discoveries than any other individual.

We got to understand some of his brilliance when the beautiful, 6,800-square-foot Imagine Exhibitions Gallery at the Venetian presented an exploration of his life and mind in “Da Vinci: The Genius” in 2012. Just saying it was amazing didn’t begin to do justice to the original Italian Renaissance man who was born in April 1452 and died in May 1519.

I went expecting paintings but was bowled over seeing the models of his inventions that eventually became today’s military tanks, weapons, manned flight, modern-city drainage and plumbing schematics and underwater diving suits.

Here’s a YouTube clip of the incredible BBC biography program that tested his inventions.

Da Vinci protected his inventions centuries before copyright laws and a patent office by writing the creation notes in backward, mirror-like minimal images that only he could understand back then.

That first collection brought such incredible response that museum President and CEO Tom Zaller and Venetian executives decided that a second bigger and better exhibition was warranted.

On Wednesday, “Da Vinci: The Exhibition,” a comprehensive look at his life, work and Italian heritage, opens for an unlimited run, and it’s much bigger and better than the first display.

More than 65 full-built, life-size inventions, more than 20 fine-art masterpieces and dozens of stunning displays and interactive and video components will dazzle with his discoveries in engineering, flight, hydraulics, light, music and art.

Da Vinci also was a sculptor, a mathematician, an architect and a mapmaker. In 1490, he drew the two images of the now world-recognized “Vitruvian Man” with legs and arms apart inside a square placed inside a circle to prove the incredible Proportions of Man all had equal measures and symmetrical proportions from the head, the chin, the arms, the waist, the legs and the feet. For more, read the treatise published as the 10 master books of architecture at Wikipedia.

Las Vegas VIPs get an advance look at the celebration cocktail reception tonight, but our contributing photographer Tom Donoghue shot our own preview photo gallery earlier today. Da Vinci’s journey of innovation, creativity, science and wonder is all set against beautiful scenes of the Italian countryside.

“It’s the U.S. premiere and far more interactive than the earlier show. It’s the first time this has all been seen in North America — so definitely bigger, better and badder, “Tom told me. “This is an unsurpassed opportunity to experience his life and accomplishments.”

My advance interview with Tom was posted on Feb. 26. He summed up: “It’s the most comprehensive tribute ever assembled to da Vinci’s works and is a seamless complement to the Venetian’s own Italian roots.”

Robin Leach has been a journalist for more than 50 years and has spent the past decade giving readers the inside scoop on Las Vegas, the world’s premier platinum playground.

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