NATIONAL EDITION OF THE MANUSCRIPTS AND DRAWINGS BY LEONARDO DA VINCI
The genius of Leonardo
A lively curiosity and a speculative mind caused Leonardo da Vinci's interests to range over practically every field of human knowledge available at his time: from the inventions and the building of machines to architecture, botany, physiology, physics, philosophy to literature, painting and sculpture. Using all the instruments at his disposal and adding his own skills, Leonardo Da Vinci, a real inventor, dedicated his life and works to studying the reality that surrounded him.
The codices, writings and drawings in note form that he continued to add to throughout his life and that demonstrate his studies and inventions of machines and devices, artistic and literary experimentation, provide the opportunity to follow the line of his research. They show how he proceeded with flexibility and creativity and how he was able to shift from studying the movement of the waters to studying flight using words or drawings without distinction.
Leonardo used his studies to support the development and evolution of his painted works. He considered painting the art par excellence. It was, as he states in his Book of Painting, the ultimate and most noble end. At the same time, the intuitive force of his discoveries, the evolution of his ideas on science and art noticeable in his paintings constitute a wholly unique collection of scientific studies which express a mutual exchange and an intrinsic complementarity between art and science.
While his treatises on anatomy provide the basis for the realisation in his paintings of such harmonious and believable figures as Leda or the famous Mona Lisa, they alsogive information on Leonardo’s first serious approaches to physiology in the history of medicine, among which, for example, his detailed studies on the physiology of the human foetus, something that had never been carried out before.
Similarly, his studies of botany, optics and perspective provide him with the instruments to execute increasingly detailed and realistic natural scenes as he works out an entirely original theory of perspective. Moreover, his studies of the structure of the eye and how it functions are one of the countless examples of his remarkable intuition which was to be confirmed by modern science in the centuries to follow.
Leonardo therefore breathes life into a corpus of work that is of unparalleled value and at the same time enormously apt, dictated as it is by his sublime and universal aim to understand.