By Tyrone Burke
Photos by Chris Roussakis

La Gioconda – known to English-speakers as the Mona Lisa – is the best-known painting at the world’s most prestigious art gallery, but the creator of the Louvre’s famous masterpiece only considered painting to be a hobby.

Leonardo da Vinci was the original Renaissance man, a prolific visionary whose genius irrevocably advanced engineering, physics, health sciences and art, while also leading to interesting insights about mathematics, mainly geometry.

This year is the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, and Carleton University is marking his influence with a year-long celebration of his legacy called Cinquecento, an Italian term for the cultural and artistic flourishing on the Apennine peninsula in the 1500s.

On March 22, 2019, Cinquecento launched with the opening of Diluvio, an exhibition of wire-mesh sculptures that draw inspiration from Leonardo’s Diluvio drawings. Translated as deluge, the Diluvio drawings sketch out the dynamic properties of air and water in motion, channeled through the power of cataclysmic storms.

“There are sections in Leonardo’s notebooks where he absolutely praises nature’s creativity,” says Manuel Báez, associate professor at the Azrieli School of Architecture and Urbanism.

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