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PHOTOS: High’s Leonardo da Vinci exhibit to open Oct. 6


Guest Curator Gary Radke explained why this intricate angel is likely to be the work of Leonardo da Vinci, while another -- perfectly lovely, but less detailed -- probably isn't. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

“Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius,” won’t open till Oct. 6, but the High Museum of Art surprised everyone this week by saying it would open up the exhibition on Monday, when the museum is usually closed, and allow people in for free.


Leonardo's studies are a fascinating and important part of the exhibition.

Whenever you see it, here’s what you can expect to see.

  • A 24-foot horse. It’s on the piazza, so you can see it for free any time, but even if you could miss it, you wouldn’t want to. Leonardo never had a chance to see it this way, but that doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy it.
  • Small, detailed sketches, notes and studies. These are Leonardo’s, and they reveal his skill and process. They’re small, which can make the exhibit space appear sparse, but they’re so detailed, there’s no shortage of things to see. Be sure to pick up a magnifying glass on your way in. It makes a huge difference.
  • Incredible sculpture. Some are believed to be by Leonardo, but more are pieces that influenced him, or that he helped to influence, directly or indirectly.
  • A small gallery that reveals prominent Atlantans’ feelings about genius. Ted Turner, Shirley Franklin, Alton Brown and plenty others chime in on the subject. It’s a gentle nod to interactivity in an exhibit clearly not meant for touching, but it’s interesting to hear the variety of perspectives.

Catherine Fox will review the exhibition for the AJC on Oct. 9, but over at the blog, she mentioned, “you won’t want to miss it.”

Want to go? “Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius” opens Oct. 6, continues through Feb. 21. High Museum of Art, 1280 Peachtree St., Atlanta. 404-733-4444,


"John the Baptist Preaching to a Levite and a Pharisee," in bronze by Giovan Francesco Rustici, a student of Leonardo's. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht


"Bearded Prophet" by Donatello, whose work Leonardo studied. This marble statue was cleaned for this exhibition, and hasn't been see in Italy as it will be at the High. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht


Quotes like this are spread all over the exhibition, but this one seems particularly pertinent. AJC/Jamie Gumbrecht

13 comments Add your comment

[...] Art: “Leonardo da Vinci: Hand of the Genius” continues, 10 a.m., High Museum of Art, Atlanta. Read more. [...]

[...] a busy time at the High Museum of Art. It just opened its Leonardo da Vinci exhibit, and this weekend, it opens “John Portman: Art and Architecture,” a three-floor show of [...]

Unknown Name

October 6th, 2009
3:27 pm

the second picture relates to this hahahaaaa ” looks like he has an idea or… he was trying to pick his nose and missed hahahaaa!!!”


October 5th, 2009
3:38 pm

Interesting exhibit – DaVinci was clearly exceptionally bright (scientiest, engineer, etc) as well as a talented artist – sort of an odd combination. I have about zero artistic talent personally, so looking at the statues and sculptures, in particular, made me wonder how many of these were even conceived, much less executed. One word of advice, take the time to make sure that you aren’t walking right in front of people. I was amazed at how oblivious many people were to the fact that other people might be only a few feet away looking at a piece and they would walk right up to it with their magnifying glass. The small works of art and intricacies do make for strange viewing dynamics.

To do list: October 5 | Inside Access

October 5th, 2009
12:02 am

[...] Visual art: Free preview of new Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit, noon-7 p.m., High Museum of Art, Atlanta. FREE. Photos. [...]


October 4th, 2009
12:42 pm

hammer geile leonardo da inci ist der beste ekunstler der welkt

Jamie Gumbrecht

October 2nd, 2009
12:38 pm

Great tip, LB. I didn’t have time to check out the audio tour, but I was lucky to be following the curator. His brief explanations made it a much richer experience than if I’d gone it alone. There’s only so much a text panel can do.


October 2nd, 2009
10:54 am

I am looking forward to seeing this exhibit, very much so. da Vinci exceeds being an artis, he is genius.


October 2nd, 2009
9:40 am

I agree with Art. Also, the best part of these exhibits is contemplating the work that these amazing artists have done, and that we get to see them. Big tip though: If you don’t usually, I would fork over the dollars for the audio tour. There’s a lot of great information in this particular one.

Also, Smithsonian Magazine ran an article in the October issue pertaining to a piece in the exhibit, and the content is interesting. They cover the same topic briefly at the exhibit.


October 2nd, 2009
8:57 am

Went to the members’ opening night last night – as you said, the exhibit does seem sparse, but the detail in the sketches from DaVinci’s notebooks is amazing, especially when you realize that these drawings were done on paper with chalk, pen, and color washes over 500 years ago. It is hard to believe that they survived intact for all this time, through wars, weather extremes, frequent handling, etc. A good number of the items are from the collection of Queen Elizabeth. If nothing else, the royal families and the church had the know-how and the means to preserve historic documents and art – if it weren’t for them, we probably would not have these things around today for us to appreciate and study.