Da Vinci's mechanical lion goes on display in Paris

The wooden 3D structure is accompanied by a multimedia presentation

The famous mechanical lion designed by Leonardo da Vinci was fully restored and presented on Wednesday at the Italian Cultural Institute in Paris where it will remain for a month in tribute to the Renaissance master's 500 years after his death.

The lion, which is two metres high, three metres long and made of wood with a metal mechanism, represents a special 3D reconstruction based on a rudimentary sketch left by da Vinci. The original automaton, long since lost, was designed by the Tuscan artist on a commission from Pope Leo X to amuse French king Francois I. Its function was extremely unique and exquisite  for its time - the lion had to solemnly advance a few meters towards the king and leave at his feet a sheaf of lilies, with his belly opening to release these flowers symbolising Florence. It would have served a few times.

While on display the artwork is also accompanied by a multimedia presentation that allows visitors to browse the so-called Codex Madrid I. Newly discovered it is the box in which the notes of the project were kept. Besides them the box features over six thousand other sheets, which represent Leonardo's plans of hundreds of imaginary machines, although only a few of them had to be built and operate including the mechanical lion.

Da Vinci, who died in May 1519, had huge interest in science, especially physics, anatomy and botany. He was also legendary obsessed with the flight of birds and studied how the mechancs of their wings' movement could lead to the creation of world's first human flying machine.

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