Codex Leicester
The Codex Leceister [detail], 1510
Leonardo Da Vinci, Italian
Codex manuscript
Courtesy Bill Gates / ©bgC3

Exhibition Overview

Engineer, inventor, scientist, artist: Leonardo da Vinci embodies the ideal of an innovative mind who uses his vast intellect, powers of observation, and boundless curiosity to explore the world around him. This rare exhibition presents one of Leonardo’s original notebooks, a vital tool in his creative process, and examines how his renaissance thinking is shared by some of today’s most visionary artists, engineers, and designers.

To show how sketching helps ideas emerge, often in dynamic, non-linear ways, this presentation of the Codex Leicester is paired with contemporary works by artists and designers. These exercises in “thinking on paper” include:

Bill Viola’s dynamic 2004 video and sound installation, The Raft, along with one of his planning notebooks;

Margaret and Christine Wertheim of the Institute For Figuring’s Crochet Coral Reef, the world’s largest participatory art and science project. Hear Margaret interviewed by Krista Tippett for her radio program “On Being” (MIA, 2015) on this podcast: The Grandeur and Limits of Science;

Drawings and prototypes by Scott Olson, an inventor who refined the inline skate concept and successfully marketed it as Rollerblades;

Exploratory sketches for safety cars with swiveling cockpits and child car seats, c. 1959–1973, by St. Paul–based industrial design firm Don E. Harley & Associates.


The Codex Leicester is on loan from Bill Gates.

Lead Sponsors:

Major Sponsor:
Generous Supporter:
Media Partner:

Additional support provided by
The Italian Cultural Center of Minneapolis/St.Paul.

100 B-Day presented by: