Washington D.C. Exhibition Takes You Inside the Mind of Leonardo da Vinci

Confindustria brings da Vinci Drawings to the U.S.

The exhibition “Imagining the future. Leonardo da Vinci: in the mind of an Italian genius,” the first monographic exhibition dedicated to the Atlantic Codex in the USA, is now open to the public at the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library in downtown Washington, DC. Visitors will have an opportunity to see twelve original plates from Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus (preserved in the archive of the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy).

Italian Genius

The exhibit reveals the intellectual life of the Italian Master from 1478 to 1519 and retraces the themes most studied by Leonardo: mechanics, flight, hydraulics, perpetual motion, development of machines and gears. The philosophy of genius was based on observation and experimentation, which represent the cornerstones of Italian entrepreneurship.

“The intent behind this exhibition, is to celebrate the human capacity for enterprise and the genius of the Italian mind, which has developed throughout the centuries and still continues to communicate, research, propose and build,” said Monsignor Alberto Rocca, exhibit curator, and the Director of the Art Gallery of Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy.

“Leonardo da Vinci offers us models designed to improve the quality of life, in the belief that technological progress must also necessarily involve progress of the mind and spirit.”

About the Codex Atlanticus

The Codex Atlanticus is a collection of more than 1,200 pages across 12 volumes, containing Leonardo’s notes, drawings, and diagrams from 1478 to 1519. The codex covers a range of subjects, including flight, weaponry, mathematics and botany, and its content has found applications in fields such as engineering and design.

Family-Friendly: Leonardo’s Lab

“Imagining the Future” will also stimulate young engineering minds. The Library is hosting “Leonardo’s Lab,” an interactive exhibition developed by the Carnegie Science Center suitable for children ages 6 –  14. Explore the inventions, art, and ideas of the original Renaissance man, as you engage in a dozen hands-on activities. Create a ‘copter, solve math puzzles, try your hand at backward writing, make your own Mona Lisa masterpiece, and engineer towers, bridges, and simple machines. Multi-user ‘workshop tables’ allow individuals or groups to learn about Leonardo da Vinci’s many areas of interest in science and art.

 Leonardo’s Lab is brought to the public by the DC Public Library Foundation.


“We organized this first monographic exhibition of Da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus in the United States to promote the entrepreneurial spirit as the engine of economic, social, and civil growth in all countries.”

Carlo Bomoni, President of Confindustria

Confindustria (the largest business association representing manufacturing and service companies in Italy), spearheaded the exhibition together with the partner organizations (Intesa Sanpaolo main partner; ITA Airways official carrier; 24ORE Cultura; Dolce&Gabbana; Dompè; Pirelli; Trenitalia; and the DC Public Library), with the curatorship of Alberto Rocca, Director of the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana and under the patronage of the Embassy of Italy in Washington D.C. and the Italian Cultural Institute of Washington D.C.


Exhibition Dates: June 21 – August 20, 2023

The Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library
901 G St. NW Washington, D.C. 20001 (near the Metro Center and Gallery Place/Chinatown Metro stations)

  • Sunday: 1:00 pm-5:00 pm
  • Monday: 9:30 am-9:00 pm
  • Tuesday: 9:30 am-4:00 pm
  • Wednesday: 9:30 am-9:00 pm
  • Thursday: 9:30 am-9:00 pm
  • Friday: 9:30 am-5:30 pm
  • Saturday: 9:30 am-5:30 pm

Website | @DCPublicLibrary | @Confindustria

(l to r) Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director, DC Public Library; Carlo Bonomi, President, Confindustria – main sponsor of the event; Mariangela Zappi, Italian Ambassador to the US; Kimberly Bassett, Secretary of the District of Columbia
Monsignor Alberto Rocca, Director of the Art Gallery of Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy. | © Ralph Alswang

(l to r); Richard Reyes-Gavilan, Executive Director, DC Public Library; Pierpaolo Monti, Country Manager USA & Americas, Intesa Sanpaolo; Sergio Dompé, Executive President, Dompé Farmaceutici; Mr. Carlo Bonomi, President, Confindustria; Kimberly Bassett, Secretary of the District of Columbia; Mariangela Zappia, Italian Ambassador to the US; Monsignor Alberto Rocca, Director of the Art Gallery of Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, Italy; Mirja Cartia d’Asero, CEO Gruppo 24 Ore, 24 Ore Cultura; Pierfrancesco Carino, VP International Sales, ITA Airways; Fedele Usai, Managing Director,Dolce&Gabbana; Claudio Zanardo, CEO North America, Pirelli

Lisa Morales


Based in Miami, I am the Editor-in-Chief for Live in Italy Magazine. I am a member of the International Food Wine Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and contributor to internationally recognized art; food and wine; and travel publications. In my free time, I love to cook and bake; take photographs; go for nature walks; and run on the beach. I am WSET 2 Certified and working on the CSW. I look forward to getting to know you! Follow Us @LiveInItalyMag 🇮🇹.

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