The 3-minute interview with Bruce Peterson

The curator of a new exhibit titled “Da Vinci — An Exhibition of Genius,” which will debut at the Metreon on Saturday, has spent the last three years working on the first comprehensive exhibition of the artist’s work to travel the world. The Examiner caught up with Peterson at a special viewing of the exhibit.

Why did you produce this exhibit? What will San Franciscans find? Our ambition was to put together an exhibition that covered not just Leonardo’s machine inventions and codices, but one that also delved into his anatomical work, his sculpture work, his military engineering, his musical instruments, his flight, the Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man.

Is the exhibit groundbreaking? We’re the first to develop the life-sized models of the inventions. The artists have been working on the machines for about 10 years.

What will Leonardo aficionados find at the exhibit? The novices? The aficionados will find the amazement of: ‘Wow, the same man who created the Mona Lisa also created the ball-bearing system, the car jack, the differential system.’ I think that is what many people still do not know about Leonardo.

Why did you choose San Francisco as the exhibit’s first North American stop? There’s a very strong Italian heritage in San Francisco. I would also say the innovation of Silicon Valley. Most people who are in the innovation area know Leonardo as the greatest inventor of all time.

What is the most important piece? The codices are obviously the centerpieces of everything. Those tiny little books the size of the palm of your hand are really the only things where we have captured Leonardo’s mind to paper, and that’s the foundation of it all.


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