IMAGINE not having to travel all the way to Italy - or even to a major Australian capital - to see first-hand the creative genius that was Leonardo da Vinci.
It seems unimaginable, but Toowoomba's Cobb+Co Museum has achieved a major coup in hosting a new international touring exhibition from December 9 which lets visitors delve into the mind of Italy's, and arguably the world's, most famous artist, scientist and inventor.
Da Vinci Machines: Leonardo's Inventions Brought to Life, features more than 50 exhibits, reportedly constructed or reconstructed by three generations of Florentine artisans, involving intricate study of illustrations and writings by the mastermind.
Some had never previously made it past the drawing phase.
On loan from the Museum of Leonardo da Vinci in Florence, Italy, the interactive machines are created from original da Vinci drawings.
Highlights include the bicycle, the scuba suit, a drumming robot, spring-powered car, as well as flying machines.
On the artistic front, visitors will see actual-size digital prints of the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, The Annunciation, Lady with an Ermine and da Vinci's self-portrait.
You might well be amazed at how small the Mona Lisa is for the big fuss that is made over her, but this exhibit also provides the rare opportunity to compare the restored Mona Lisa with a digitally enhanced version, giving it the vibrancy it would have had when it started life 500 years ago.
Queensland Museum Network acting CEO Dr Jim Thompson said the exhibition would give visitors the opportunity to discover why Leonardo da Vinci was considered such a genius, both artistically and scientifically.
"What a coup for Toowoomba to be able to bring this exhibition to Cobb+Co Museum where visitors can view these incredible machines that have inspired generations and will continue to stimulate the thinkers and designers of the next generation," he said.
Among da Vinci's innovations are automatons, nautical, hydraulic and architectural tools, ground-breaking applications of civil engineering and fear-inspiring war machines.
The exhibition will run for five months from December 9 until May 27, and is open 9.30am-4pm.
Entry to Cobb+Co Museum is free for residents in the Toowoomba Regional Council area. Otherwise, prices are adults $12.50, children $6.50 and families $32.
For more information go to cobbandco.qm.qld.gov.au or call 46594914.