National Gallery to launch 'immersive Leonardo Da Vinci experience' as they unveil hidden sketch and fingerprints


The National Gallery has commissioned the production team behind the 2012 Olympic opening ceremony and blockbuster pop culture exhibitions to bring to life a Leonardo Da Vinci painting, in a new “immersive” exhibition.

The show, which opens in November, will see the ground floor of the gallery “completely transformed” into an “immersive exploration of [Leonardo’s] genius as a painter”, focusing on one work: The Virgin of the Rocks. 

The painting has been undergoing significant scientific investigation, uncovering the original, hidden sketches of the artist as well as mystery handprints left in the paint. 

Visitors to the show will be able to see images of the “abandoned composition” below the finished paint work, thanks to macro X-ray fluorescence (MA-XRF) maps and infrared and hyperspectral imaging.

External company 59 Productions, which has previously worked on the video design of the Opening Ceremony of the London 2012 Olympic Games and museum installations such as the V&A’s record-breaking David Bowie Is, will bring the exhibition to life for visitors by recreating moving images of the chapel the painting would originally have been hung in. 

The gallery promises “multi-sensory experiences” spanning four rooms, including projections showing Leonardo’s use of “light and shadow” and a conservator’s studio showing how modern experts can look beneath the painting’s surface. 


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