Monday, September 30, 2019
  Community, Around Campus, Science & Technology

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Leonardo Da Vinci’s armor-clad robot
Leonardo Da Vinci’s armor-clad robot is brought to life in Leonardo da Vinci: Genius in Motion, an interactive display open to the public through Dec. 20 at UTRGV’s Engineering Building on the Edinburg Campus. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

EDINBURG, TEXAS – The genius of Leonardo da Vinci is on display through December at the UTRGV Engineering Building on the Edinburg Campus.

Sponsored by the university’s Office of Public Art, the hands-on exhibit brings to life da Vinci’s extraordinary talents as an engineer, designer, anatomist and architect, as well as a painter, sculptor and musician. 

“Leonardo da Vinci: Machines in Motion” presents full-scale machines built after in-depth study of the artist’s designs by a group of scientists and skilled craftsmen in Florence, Italy. Many of the mechanisms are life-size and fully operational. Others are scale models but fully interactive – including a motion-activated, armor-clad robot.

Visitors are able to touch the machines and set them in motion, making for a fascinating hands-on exploration of the principles da Vinci employed to create each machine.

The machines are grouped into four sections based upon applications linked to the elements – air, water, land and fire – which held a strong fascination for him.

“This is a fabulous exhibit that will fascinate visitors of all ages,” said Dr. Dahlia Guerra, assistant vice president of Public Art at UTRGV. “The exhibit allows visitors to dive beyond da Vinci’s artworks and into his visionary inventions – including the drive transmission, the printing press and many others.

“Most of the materials used in the construction of these machines were available in da Vinci’s era,” she said, “and are the ones proposed by him in his codices, including wood, rope and glue. The materials were crafted by hand, using tools prescribed by the artist himself, and then reinforced for the traveling exhibition.” 

The exhibit is now open and will run through Dec. 20, 2019, during regular business hours. Admission is free. School groups are welcome.

For more information, contact the UTRGV Office of Public Art at (956) 665-2353.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.