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'Archimedes of Syracuse' at the Galleria Civica Montevergini, Syracuse

The exhibition dedicated to Archimedes offers visitors the unique opportunity to get to know closely one of the most brilliant figures in the history of mankind and, thanks to the most advanced multimedia applications, to immerse themselves in the city of Syracuse in the third century BC, the true capital of Magna Graecia and the central Mediterranean, where the great scientist lived, conceived his extraordinary inventions and was finally killed by a Roman soldier who had just entered the city as a conqueror.

'Archimedes of Syracuse' at the Galleria Civica Montevergini, Syracuse

The exhibition opens in the Gallery of Montevergini, in a large room equipped with 16 video projectors for a 360 degree multimedia vision, which leads visitors into a real journey through time, to "immerse" themselves in the city of Archimedes in the third century BC. A spectacular and philologically accurate reconstruction shows some of the symbolic buildings (from the Castle of Eurialo to the Greek Theatre and the temple of Athena) that made Syracuse one of the most important centres in the Mediterranean also from an artistic and cultural point of view. A series of animations designed by Lorenzo Lopane and created with the students of INDA bring to life the presence of ancient Syracusans and among them the great scientist.

In this way the importance of the city emerges and therefore the environment, too often neglected, in which the personality of Archimedes was shaped. Based on historical and archaeological sources, an evocative narrative available in 4 languages and entrusted in Italian to the voice of Massimo Popolizio, allows you to follow the events that led, at the end of the Second Punic War, to the clash with Rome. The extraordinary war machines designed by Archimedes and put into action in the battle that broke out in the waters in front of Ortigia, thus become the protagonists of the final part that ends with the killing of the great Syracusan.

'Archimedes of Syracuse' at the Galleria Civica Montevergini, Syracuse
Credit: Galleria Civica Montevergini
But it is only the beginning of an articulated path of interactive investigation, which presents more than twenty working models of machines and devices that tradition attributes to Archimedes: from the hydraulic screw to the worm screw, from the burning mirrors to the water clock that Arab authors of the Middle Ages have credited him with, from the "steam cannon" that according to Leonardo da Vinci the Syracusan had invented, to the mechanical planetarium brought to Rome as part of the spoils of war after the capture of the city. Each of the exibits is accompanied by interactive videos, didactic texts and quotations from the sources.

The fascination that the image of Archimedes has always exerted is in fact due not only to the extraordinary machines which tradition has credited him with inventing, but also to the very important results achieved by his research and of which traces remain in his writings. Archimedes' ingenious geometric and mechanical insights, generally understandable only to a limited number of specialists, are presented in a plain and accessible way.  In fact, the working models illustrate both the salient aspects of the research carried out by Syracuse and the extraordinary objectives achieved also at the level of practical applications.

'Archimedes of Syracuse' at the Galleria Civica Montevergini, Syracuse
Credit: Galleria Civica Montevergini
The image of Archimedes traverses 23 centuries of history unspoilt. His inexhaustible desire for knowledge and the depth of his studies have made him the forerunner of the inventor par excellence, capable of creating mechanical devices destined to enter the collective imagination of all generations: to the point that even today his name is synonymous with invention and innovation in the field of industrial production and design. Admired by men of culture of all ages, Archimedes is known since ancient times and throughout the Middle Ages, as an inventor, astronomer, mathematician and expert manufacturer of mechanical devices.

The new exhibition on Archimedes proposes an itinerary in which the visitor is guided on a journey of discovery of the technical and scientific culture of the ancient Mediterranean, of which Syracuse was a splendid protagonist.

The exhibition, which will run until December 31, 2019, is conceived by the Museo Galileo and curated by Giovanni Di Pasquale with the scientific advice of Giuseppe Voza and Cettina Pipitone Voza, is promoted by the City of Syracuse and produced by Civita Exhibitions with Opera Laboratori Fiorentini and the collaboration of UnitC1 and the National Institute of Ancient Drama of Syracuse.

Source: Galleria Civica Montevergini [May 28, 2018]


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