M. C. Escher, Smaller and Smaller, 1956, wood engraving and woodcut in black and brown, printed from four blocks, 15 x 15 in., Collection of Dr. Stephen R. Turner, © 2015 The M.C. Escher Company, The Netherlands. All rights reserved. www.mcescher.com
Leonardo daVinci? This could be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.
Soon to be on display at the North Carolina Museum of Art is Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester, a 500-year-old notebook handwritten and illustrated by the inventor, scientist and artist himself. The only manuscript by da Vinci in all of North America, it offers a glimpse into one of the greatest minds in history.
Leonardo da Vinci, Codex Leicester (Sheet 1A, folio 1r), 1508–10, ink on paper, 11 2/3 x 8 1/2 in., Courtesy of Bill Gates, © 1994 bgC3
“This is going to be an exciting fall at the museum, an incredibly rare opportunity for our visitors to see not only centuries-old writings and sketches by Leonardo da Vinci, but also the work of M.C. Escher, another observer of nature and a perfect modern counterpart to Leonardo,” said Lawrence J. Wheeler, NCMA director.
“These exhibitions will thrill art lovers and science lovers alike,” Wheeler said, “and we hope that all visitors leave with a piqued curiosity, an ignited imagination, and a desire to more closely observe the world around them.”
The Codex Leicester is composed of 36 folios, each handwritten on the front and back and illustrated with sketches of the topics daVinci is discussing. It focuses on his thoughts and beliefs about water, astronomy, light and mechanics.
Interactive touch-screen devices called Codescopes allow visitors to view translations and explanations of the text and sketches, and see video and animations relating to daVinci’s experiments.
Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Leicester and the Creative Mind opens Oct. 31.
See It Now
A second noteworthy exhibit now on display at the NCMA is The Worlds of M. C. Escher: Nature, Science, and Imagination.
Comprising more than 130 woodcuts, lithographs, wood engravings and mezzotints, as well as numerous drawings, watercolors, wood blocks and lithographic stones never before exhibited, this is the most comprehensive Escher exhibition ever presented in the United States.
It highlights Escher’s explorations of nature, mathematics, science and the realm of his imagination, as a modern counterpart to daVinci, and surveys the Dutch graphic artist’s entire career.
Numerous events related to these exhibits will take place through January, including Engineering Infinity, a project of the College of Engineering at N.C. State University inspired by Escher and daVinci works.
Other events include lectures, studio classes, tours and activities for teens and families.
Both exhibits run through Jan. 17, 2016. For the full event schedule, visit ncartmuseum.org.