Get ready to play “Find the Polyhedron” as geometric shapes are being installed throughout Florence ahead of The Botany of Leonardo. A Vision of Science Bridging Art and Nature exhibition, opening September 13 at the Santa Maria Novella Museum.
Piazza della Signoria, piazza della Stazione, piazza Santa Maria Novella, piazza Bambini di Beslan by the Fortezza da Basso and the large cloister of Santa Maria Novella are the spaces hosting the six-metre-high geometric shapes designed by Leonardo da Vinci for Luca Pacioli’s manuscript De Divina Proportione and which, according to Plato, embodied the four elements of the cosmos: earth (the cube), air (octahedron), water (icosahedron) and fire (tetrahedron). Completing the set—and representing the entire universe—is the dodecahedron, which has adorned piazza della Signoria since June 14.
The icosahedron can already be seen in the middle of piazza Santa Maria Novella, as too can the cube in piazza Bambini di Beslan, near Fortezza da Basso. On August 28, the tetrahedron will be unveiled in piazza della Stazione, while the final shape will be revealed in the large cloister of Santa Maria Novella on September 13 with the opening of the exhibition.
The Botany of Leonardo. A Vision of Science Bridging Art and Nature will be open until December 15 and is much awaited as the final major event in Florence to mark the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci. Focusing on a lesser known field of the Renaissance genius’s accomplishments, the show looks at Leonardo’s studies into the shapes and structures of the plant world through his systemic thinking into connections between art, science and nature. The exhibition is curated by leading Florentine plant neurobiologist Stefano Mancuso; Fritjof Capra, the physicist, systems theorist and deep ecologist; and Valentino Mercati, founder and chairman of Aboca pharmaceutical company based in Sansepolcro, Tuscany.