Leonardo da Vinci

Versatility in all arts

The genius of Leonardo, truly "grasping" it through real models, backgrounds on his life and times, and all sixteen paintings attributed to him with certainty, serve as an exhibition and overture for the new immersive journey through the world and work of the genius. "Uomo universale" makes Leonardo da Vinci tangible, fascinating, and multifaceted.

Da Vinci embodies the quintessential Renaissance man. What distinguishes him from his famous contemporaries such as Michelangelo, Raphael or Botticelli is his versatility. From painting to engineering prowess and from mathematics to anatomy – with his detailed observations, da Vinci recorded groundbreaking ideas and made revolutionary inventions that would go on to change the world.  

The exhibition is aimed at lovers of art, culture, and history, fans of technology and engineering, and all those who wish to discover the world of the Renaissance polymath.

«Leonardo da Vinci – uomo universale» was created for the Visiodrom in Germany and is being shown outside of Wuppertal for the first time. The exhibition was developed by the creative team of Visiodrom, including Marie Haus and Axel Kurz, under the curatorial direction of Christian Höher and with the scholarly guidance of Dr. Hiram Kümper, Professor of Late Medieval and Early Modern History at the University of Mannheim. Additionally, it is supported by Bielefeld University. The Department of Engineering and Mathematics has accumulated decades of practical experience with Leonardo and his inventions through its project "DA VINCI – Moving Inventions". The models showcased in the Lichthalle MAAG have been highlights in various Leonardo exhibitions across museums throughout Europe.

Uomo Universale

«Uomo universale» is Italian and translates to 'the Universal Man.' It doesn't refer solely to the genius itself. It represents an ideal of the Renaissance, which remains relevant to this day.

The «uomo universale» emerged from the spirit of the early humanists like Dante Alighieri or Giovanni Pico della Mirandola. They pondered how an ideal person should live if not solely according to God's commandments. They painted a picture of a virtuous, educated individual who is creative and lives in harmony with nature.

The «uomo universale» is driven by great inner motivation, has diverse interests, strives for mastery wherever possible, and takes care of both body and mind. During Leonardo's time, all great minds aspired to this ideal. It was one of the driving forces behind the golden age of the Renaissance.

It was also a stroke of luck for Leonardo da Vinci. Born as an illegitimate child, he was not allowed to attend school, thus he could not learn Latin or Greek. In an era that looked back to antiquity and its texts, this lack of education was practically a death sentence. However, pursuing mastery along the ideal of «uomo universale» brought Leonardo from Vinci so much recognition and honor that he was regarded as one of the greatest scholars of his time even during his lifetime.

The usual career paths in nobility, the church, or through wealth were not open to him. Without the ideal of «uomo universale», Leonardo's story would likely have unfolded quite differently.