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‘Leonardo Opera Omnia’ — the Renaissance Man at His Best in KL

Head to the National Art Gallery in KL for a glimpse of Da Vinci’s best works that are being showcased through high-technology reproductions from July 15 to Aug 15.

By Culture Editor

Picture: Nina and Raja Izz

Art enthusiasts are known to shed tears when they are placed face to face with their favourite paintings and artwork. For those who can afford a flight to Paris, the Louvre is for sure a place of interest that would connect them with “Mona Lisa”, one of the most iconic paintings by the Renaissance man, artist and inventor Leonardo da Vinci.

Even if you get to stand face to face with “Mona Lisa”, you might have to be in front of rows of people with their arms and cameras raised to take snapshots of the little painting. And yes, before getting your chance, you’d need to brace the long queue to get into the Louvre and into the room where “Mona Lisa” resides.

So, here is your plan B. Head to the National Art Gallery in Kuala Lumpur (KL) for a glimpse of the genius’ best works that are being showcased in an exhibition called “Leonardo Opera Omnia”. The one-month event — to commemorate the 500 years since Da Vinci’s death on May 2, 1519 — started on July 15 and allows you to really take your time to enjoy all of Da Vinci’s digitally reproduced works.

Even if all the 17 pieces are not the real McCoy, the experience of absorbing the spirit of the works and what they represent could be as moving.

“Leonardo Opera Omnia” is commissioned by Italian media company, Rai Com SpA, with the cooperation of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. “Basically, what they want to do is to export

The exhibition in KL was a result of the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ communiqué with other embassies throughout the world about the possibility of showing the works. The Italian Embassy in KL responded and decided to bring the project to KL.

For the novice and the uninitiated, Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy, as an illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant woman. At the age of 15, he was apprenticed to an artist, thus training him in painting, sculpture and technical-mechanical arts. With his incredible skills in observation, critical thinking, drawing and innovation, Da Vinci has truly become a jack of all trades.

Matteo Ive — an Italian architect who works on the setup for “Leonardo Opera Omnia” — utilises high technology to “reproduce the experience” as real as possible, complete with the special lighting techniques.

His aim is to get the visitors to go very close to the paintings, something that is unachievable with the original “Mona Lisa” or any other works that are placed further from the viewers while being protected by two glasses for safety purposes.

The best part is, viewers don’t need to queue for the “Mona Lisa”, while still having the chance to immerse in its details — even though it is just a reproduced version.

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