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Milan Prepares for Da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus

July 31, 2009 12:15 PM
by Sarah Amandolare
In September, a vast collection of Leonardo da Vinci’s writings and drawings will go on public display for the first time, adding to the intrigue surrounding the Renaissance artist.

The Work of a True Renaissance Man

The collection includes 12 volumes totaling 1,119 pages of everything “from studies of bird flight to sketches of complex machinery,” completed by da Vinci between 1478 and 1518, according to Agence France-Press. Named Codex Atlanticus, the work will go on display in “24 separate exhibitions” in Milan, Italy.

For three months, 50 pages will remain on display at each of the exhibitions, beginning on September 10 and concluding in 2015. Two of da Vinci’s drawings are to go on display ahead of time, from July 18 to August 31, in a free exhibit in Palazzo Marino in Milan, AFP reports.

The Web site Universal Leonardo provides an image from Codex Atlanticus, “the largest collection of Leonardo’s papers ever assembled,” which was first amassed by Italian sculptor Pompeo Leoni. Learn about the genesis of the project, including da Vinci’s “involvement in the Florentine Republic’s scheme to divert the course of the River Arno away from Pisa.”

According to Universal Leonardo, the collection “reflects every aspect of Leonardo’s interests, including mechanical science, mathematics, astronomy, geography, botany, chemistry and anatomy.”

Background: Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, the illegitimate son of a notary named Ser Piero and a peasant girl called Caterina. Da Vinci will always be best known for “The Last Supper” and “Mona Lisa.” But he was also known for his skills outside of art, specifically his scientific research and ability to make keen observations.

Related Topic: Virtual da Vinci

The artist also made headlines a couple of years ago for being showcased in a new way: virtually.

In 1994, Bill Gates purchased da Vinci’s Leicester Codex, the artist’s “scientific musings,” for $31 million, according to Raphael G. Satter in an article for the Associated Press. In 2007, Gates “showed off a virtual version” of the collection to a crowd of onlookers at the British Library as he revealed Microsoft’s Windows Vista operating system. But the audience was more interested in da Vinci’s work, Satter explained. “[A] virtual notebook filled with fluttering, beautifully textured pages in Da Vinci's faded handwriting—stole the show.”

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