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Leonardo da Vinci & Perpetual Motion keynote lecture and exhibition launch

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Cinema

Birkbeck, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

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WC1H 0PD

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Join us for the keynote lecture to the opening of the Peltz Gallery exhibition 'Leonardo da Vinci and Perpetual Motion: Visualising Impossible Machines. The Director of the Dutch Institute of the History of Art in Florence Professor Michael Kwakkelstein, will give a lecture entitled 'Leonardo da Vinci: the Motions of the Mind'. The lecture will be followed by the private view and reception.

Keynote lecture, 6-7pm

Exhibition private view and reception, 7-9pm

More about the exhibition

Can one have perpetual motion?

The search for the perfect machine, which would work with total efficiency and be self-sufficient ad infinitum, occupied natural philosophers and engineers from the Middle Ages onwards. Leonardo has a central place in this story. His designs of perpetual motion machines are intriguing applications of his understanding of the laws of motion and mechanics, expressing an important side of his multifaceted experiments in art, science and engineering.

The quest proved impossible in the nineteenth century with studies of thermodynamics, yet Leonardo is the first to state its impossibility. This exhibition explores new ways of analysing, reconstructing and contextualising Leonardo’s designs. Key drawings from his notebooks are featured alongside animated images and virtual models, as well as placed in the wider context of his oeuvre with tools for comparative scrutiny and reasoning. At stake is what state-of-the art technology can contribute towards our understanding of visual works and thinking processes in the fields of art and science.

The exhibition is a collaboration between The Vasari Research Centre for Art and Technology at Birkbeck (London), Ravensbourne University London, The Museo Galileo (Florence); and with the support of the Leonardo da Vinci Society (London).It is also part of the international celebrations marking the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). It is the nucleus of a larger exhibition at the Museo Galileo in Florence (October 2019- January 2020).

Leonardo da Vinci and Perpetual Motion: Visualising Impossible Machines opens at The Peltz Gallery from 6 February – 12 March 2019. More information can be found here

Image: Codex Forster II, f. 91r © Victoria and Albert Museum, London

Michael W. Kwakkelstein is Professor of Art History, specialized in the visual arts of the Renaissance in Italy. He received his doctoral degree from the University of Leiden with a thesis entitled: Leonardo da Vinci as a physiognomist. Theory and drawing practice that was published in 1994 (rev. ed. 2014). His research is focused on Leonardo da Vinci with special interest in the relation between his artistic practice and concept of painting. Following a two-year position as Lecturer at the Institute for Art History of the University of Amsterdam, he became Chief Curator of the Department of Fine Arts of Teylers Museum in Haarlem and curated, in collaboration with the British Museum and the Ashmolean Museum, the successful exhibition of Michelangelo drawings. Since 2008 he is the director of the Dutch University Institute for Art History in Florence and Professor of Art History at Utrecht University. He recently curated, also for the Teylers Museum at Haarlem, the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci. The Language of Faces. In addition to contributing as an author to catalogues of exhibitions on Leonardo to be held in Italy in 2019, is also working on a book on the anatomical drawings by Rubens for the Corpus Rubenianum Ludwig Burchard.

The lecture has the support of the Murray Bequest.

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Cinema

Birkbeck, School of Arts, 43 Gordon Square

London

WC1H 0PD

United Kingdom

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