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Leonardo da Vinci's art meets science in Jakarta exhibition

Madison Bogisch

The Jakarta Post

Jakarta  /  Fri, February 7, 2020  /  11:26 am
Leonardo da Vinci's art meets science in Jakarta exhibition

A digital reproduction of the 'Last Supper' by Leonardo da Vinci at the Leonardo Opera Omnia exhibition at Bank Mandiri Museum in Central Jakarta on Feb. 5. (JP/Madison Bogisch)

Being able to see just one of Leonardo da Vinci’s masterpieces is merely a dream for most. However, the Leonardo Opera Omnia exhibition is set to provide Indonesian art enthusiasts with an experience almost as good as the real thing.

On display at the Bank Mandiri Museum in Central Jakarta until March 3, the exhibition features 17 high-definition and true-to-scale digital reproductions of da Vinci’s pieces, including the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. Indonesia is one of 15 countries able to see the exhibition, which is said to combine art and science as scientific analysis was used to identify whether the paintings belonged to da Vinci.

Presented by the Italian Embassy and the Italian Cultural Institute of Jakarta, the exhibition is being held after last year’s 70-year celebration of diplomatic relations between Indonesia and Italy. In a press conference at Bank Mandiri Museum on Wednesday, Italian Ambassador to Indonesia Vittorio Sandalli said, “Now we are experiencing a real encouraging phase of diplomatic relations between Italy and Indonesia in many sectors.”

In addition to strengthening diplomatic relations between the two countries, artwork restorer Michaela Anselmini said in an interview with The Jakarta Post that the exhibition was highly educational and important for those who could not travel.

“[The] point is to give [viewers] the experience of people who are lucky enough to travel to Europe to see Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Otherwise, it’s difficult to see all of [the artwork] together like this,” said Michaela.

The exhibition features a digital reproduction of da Vinci’s unfinished San Girolamo penitente – more famously known as St. Jerome. Michaela believes the over 500-year-old piece holds an important lesson.

Read also: Jakarta exhibition to showcase Leonardo da Vinci's celebrated works

“Sometimes in Indonesia people think if something is damaged or old, [then] throw it away,” she said. She expressed hope that the preservation and restoration efforts of the piece could inspire audiences to do the same, both in art and daily life.

Leonardo Opera Omnia is the result of five years of work by the Rai Com Project. Project architect Matteo Ive said that how Leonardo Opera Omnia incorporated LED lights and digital imagery was unlike any other project he had worked on.

A digital reproduction of 'The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne' by Leonardo da Vinci at the Leonardo Opera Omnia exhibition at Bank Mandiri Museum in Central Jakarta on Feb. 5.A digital reproduction of 'The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne' by Leonardo da Vinci at the Leonardo Opera Omnia exhibition at Bank Mandiri Museum in Central Jakarta on Feb. 5. (JP/Madison Bogisch)

“It’s totally different, I would’ve never thought to do something like this with the reproduction,” Matteo said.  

For the purpose of the exhibition, each of the original 17 paintings were photographed prior to digital recreation. This includes the Last Supper, which can only be seen by 1,000 people per day in Santa Maria delle Grazie Church in Milan, and the Mona Lisa, which Matteo admitted to removing from behind the bullet proof glass it so famously sits in the Louvre Museum, Paris.

“All the paintings here are really important and you have to pay a lot of attention,” Matteo said.

Attention to detail is evident throughout the exhibition, as the reproduced works closely emulate their real counterparts and carefully positioned lighting creates a sense of awe. (wng)

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Madison Bogisch traveled to Indonesia under a program with ACICIS Study Indonesia.

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