Thinking 3D: Leonardo to the present

About the exhibition

For centuries, artists and scientists have wrestled with how to convey three-dimensional objects on the page. Using some of the Bodleian Libraries’ finest books, manuscripts, prints and drawings, Thinking 3D told the story of the development of three-dimensional communication over the last 500 years.

The exhibition showed how new techniques, developed from the Renaissance onwards, revolutionised the way that ideas in the fields of anatomy, architecture, astronomy and geometry were relayed and ultimately how this has influenced how we perceive the world today.

Timed to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci, the exhibition showed how Leonardo and his contemporaries made great strides in the realistic depiction of 3D forms. Thinking 3D explored technological advances up to the present day including 3D modelling, photography and stereoscopy; and also highlighted the works of modern practitioners and researchers in Oxford.

The exhibition was accompanied by a range of other exhibitions and events across Oxford in 2019 as part of the Thinking 3D research project.


Listen to Bodleian podcasts discussing and exploring the exhibition


 The curators

  • Daryl Green, Librarian at Magdalen College, Oxford
  • Dr Laura Moretti, Senior Lecturer in Art History, University of St Andrews

Thinking 3D explores how art, technology and science have influenced each other over the centuries, allowing three-dimensional concepts and observations to be shared from the mind of the author to the mind of the reader, and dramatically expanding our understanding of the world around us.

- Daryl Green and Dr Laura Moretti, co-curators of Thinking 3D -


Related links

Press & media enquiries