Join us at the Shine Dome for an insightful public lecture by Italian mathematician and science writer, Piergiorgio Odifreddi. This year marks the 500th anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death and the legendary figure is being celebrated across the world as a ‘genius’ and a ‘visionary’. In this lecture, Odifreddi will argue that, while there are no doubts that Da Vinci was a great artist, he was a mediocre scientist and a bad mathematician.

Odifreddi will delve into the ‘true Da Vinci code’—the elements of Da Vinci’s legacy that are real breakthroughs, and those that are not. While Da Vinci’s artistic masterpieces such as the Last Supper and the Adoration of the Magi reveal an excellent knowledge of perspective techniques that are innovative for his time, his codes of machines (shown on multiple sketches) are often impossible to build and can only be interpreted in some rare cases, with the benefit of hindsight as a prefiguration of modern technologies.

However, Da Vinci’s portrayal of The Divine Proportion, a collection of sixty illustrations based on the work of his good friend and mathematician Luca Pacioli, is a unique contribution to the connection between mathematics and art, which has inspired many painters since, from Durer to Dali. We can find the same effect in Da Vinci’s renowned drawing of the Vitruvian Man, which links the proportions of the human figure to the circle and the square, symbolising Heaven and Earth respectively.

Book now for this unique public lecture to hear Odifreddi’s expert opinion on the truth of the Da Vinci Code. 

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Monday, November 11, 2019 - 18:00

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