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Decoding da Vinci

Discover the science behind Leonardo da Vinci's masterpieces—and Mona Lisa's iconic smile.

Premiered: Runtime: 53:40Topic: Tech + EngineeringTech & EngineeringNova

Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance genius. Not only did he paint masterpieces of art, but he was an obsessive scientist and inventor, dreaming up complex machines centuries ahead of his time, including parachutes, armored tanks, hang gliders, and robots. On the 500th anniversary of Leonardo’s death, with the help of biographer Walter Isaacson, NOVA investigates the secrets of Leonardo’s success. How did his scientific curiosity, from dissections of cadavers to studies of optics, shape his genius and help him create perhaps the most famous painting of all time, the "Mona Lisa"? (Premiered November 13, 2019)

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Additional funding for this program is provided by The Neil and Anna Rasmussen Foundation, Margaret and Will Hearst, and the George D. Smith Fund.

National corporate funding for NOVA is provided by Draper. Major funding for NOVA is provided by the David H. Koch Fund for Science, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and PBS viewers. Additional funding is provided by the NOVA Science Trust.