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Notebooks Leonardo da Vinci posted in the public domain

Эскизы, планы, рисунки, концепции и примечания Леонардо да Винчи

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci ( Italian: Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci; April 15, 1452, the village of Ankiano, near the town of Vinci, near Florence - May 2, 1519, Castle of Clos-Luce, near Amboise, Touraine, France ) - Italian artist ( painter, sculptor, architect) and scientist (anatomist, naturalist), inventor, writer, musician, one of the largest representatives of the art of the High Renaissance, a vivid example of a “universal man” ( lat. homo universalis ).

The notebooks of the artist, inventor and thinker Leonardo da Vinci were digitized and laid out for free access - before they could only be viewed by scientists.

A huge number of records were cited and posted for free access. On the website of the London Victoria and Albert Museum, you can see Leonardo da Vinci's sketches, plans, drawings, concepts and notes in good quality.

“Leonardo began to write down his thoughts in notebooks from the mid-1480s, when he worked as a military and naval engineer for the Duke of Milan. Not one of Da Vinci’s predecessors, contemporaries, and followers used paper like he did - one sheet contains an unpredictable pattern of ideas and inventions, ” the museum’s website says.

Notebooks are called codes: Codex Forster 1 , Codex Forster 2, and Codex Forster 3 .

Codex Forster 1

Эскизы, планы, рисунки, концепции и примечания Леонардо да Винчи

The first code contains notes on hydraulic engineering and a treatise on the measurement of solids.

Codex Forster 2

Эскизы, планы, рисунки, концепции и примечания Леонардо да Винчи

The second code is two notebooks connected among themselves.

In one, notes were written on the theory of proportion, various sketches and images were drawn.

In the second book - drawings of scales, recipes for paints and development of helmets.

Codex Forster 3

Эскизы, планы, рисунки, концепции и примечания Леонардо да Винчи

The third code has almost everything - from diagrams on the geometry and hydraulics of architecture to the anatomy of humans and animals.

Эскизы, планы, рисунки, концепции и примечания Леонардо да Винчи

To date, about 7,000 pages from different collections have survived from Leonardo’s diaries. At first, priceless notes belonged to the master’s beloved student, Francesco Melzi, but when he died, the manuscripts disappeared. Some fragments began to “emerge” at the turn of the 18th – 19th centuries, a considerable number of Leonardo’s manuscripts were first published by the custodian of the Ambrosian Library Carlo Amoretti.

At first, they did not meet due interest. Numerous owners did not even suspect what treasure fell into their hands. But when scientists established the authorship, it turned out that barn books, and art essays, and anatomical sketches, and strange drawings, and research on geology, architecture, hydraulics, geometry, military fortifications, philosophy, optics, and drawing techniques were the fruit of one person.

All entries in the diaries of Leonardo are made in a mirror image. Leonardo was an ambidextro - equally well possessed with right and left hands; they even say that he could write different texts at the same time with different hands. However, most of the works he wrote with his left hand from right to left. Many think that in this way he wanted to make his research secret. Perhaps this is so. According to another version, mirror handwriting was his individual peculiarity (there is even evidence that it was easier for him to write this way than in a normal way); there is even the concept of Leonardo’s handwriting .

Achievements of Leonardo da Vinci


Our contemporaries Leonardo is primarily known as an artist. In addition, it is possible that da Vinci could be a sculptor: researchers from the University of Perugia - Giancarlo Gentilini and Carlo Sisi - argue that the terracotta head they found in 1990 is the only sculpture that Leonardo da Vinci has reached us. However, da Vinci himself at different periods of his life considered himself primarily an engineer or scientist. He devoted not so much time to art and worked rather slowly. Therefore, the artistic heritage of Leonardo is not quantitatively great, and a number of his works have been lost or severely damaged. However, his contribution to world art culture is extremely important even against the background of the cohort of geniuses that the Italian Renaissance gave. Thanks to his work, the art of painting moved to a qualitatively new stage in its development. The previous Renaissance artists of Leonardo resolutely rejected many conventions of medieval art. This was a movement towards realism and much has already been achieved in the study of perspective, anatomy, greater freedom in compositional solutions. But in terms of pictoriality, work with paint, the artists were still quite arbitrary and constrained. The line in the picture clearly outlined the subject, and the image looked like a painted picture. The most conditional was the landscape, which played a secondary role. Leonardo realized and embodied a new painting technique. His line has the right to blur, because this is how we see it. He realized the phenomena of light scattering in the air and the appearance of sphumato - haze between the viewer and the depicted object, which softens color contrasts and lines. As a result, realism in painting moved to a new level.

Leonardo was the first to explain why the sky is blue. In the book “On Painting”, he wrote: “The blue of the sky is due to the thicker illuminated particles of air, which is located between the Earth and the blackness above.”

Leonardo, apparently, did not leave a single self-portrait that could be unambiguously attributed to him. Scientists doubted that the famous self-portrait of the sanguine Leonardo (traditionally dated 1512-1515), depicting him in old age, is such. It is believed that perhaps this is just a study of the head of the apostle for the Last Supper. Doubts that this is a self-portrait of the artist have been expressed since the 19th century, the last one recently expressed by one of the largest experts in Leonardo, Professor Pietro Marani. Italian scientists have announced the discovery of an early self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci. The discovery belongs to journalist Piero Angela.

Leonardo masterly played the lyre. When the case of Leonardo was considered in the court of Milan, he figured there precisely as a musician, and not as an artist or inventor.

Science and Engineering

His only invention, recognized during his lifetime, is a wheeled lock for a pistol (wound up with a key). In the beginning, a wheeled pistol was not widespread, but by the middle of the 16th century it gained popularity among nobles, especially cavalry, which even affected the design of armor, namely: Maximilian armor was made with gloves instead of mittens for firing pistols. The pistol wheel lock invented by Leonardo da Vinci was so perfect that it continued to be found in the 19th century.

Leonardo da Vinci was interested in flight problems. In Milan, he made many drawings and studied the flying mechanism of birds of different breeds and bats. In addition to observations, he conducted experiments, but they were all unsuccessful. Leonardo really wanted to build an aircraft. He said: “He who knows everything, he can do everything. If only to find out, there will be wings! ”

First, Leonardo developed the problem of flying with wings, set in motion by the muscular strength of a person: the idea of ​​the simplest apparatus of Daedalus and Icarus. But then he came up with the idea of ​​building such an apparatus to which a person should not be attached, but should retain complete freedom to control it; the apparatus itself must be set in motion by its own power. This is essentially the idea of ​​an airplane.

Leonardo da Vinci worked on a vertical take-off and landing apparatus. Leonardo planned to place a retractable staircase system on a vertical ornitottero. Nature served as an example: “look at a stone swift, which has sat down on the ground and cannot take off because of its short legs; and when he’s in flight, pull out the stairs, as shown in the second image above ... so you have to take off from the plane; these stairs serve as legs ... ” Regarding the landing, he wrote: “These hooks (concave wedges) that are attached to the base of the stairs serve the same purposes as the tips of the toes of the person who jumps on them, and his whole body does not shake as if he hopped on his heels. "

Leonardo da Vinci proposed the first scheme of a telescope (telescope) with two lenses (now known as the telescope of the Kepler system). In the manuscript of the “Atlantic Codex”, sheet 190a, there is an entry: “Make spectacle glasses (ochiali) for the eyes to see the big moon” (Leonardo da Vinci. “LIL Codice Atlantico ...”, I Tavole, S. A. 190a),

Leonardo da Vinci may have for the first time formulated the simplest form of the law of conservation of mass for the movement of fluids, describing the course of a river, however, due to slurred language and doubts about the authenticity, this statement is criticized.

Many authoritative historians of science, for example P. Duham, K. Trusdell, G.K. Mikhailov, question the originality of a number of da Vinci's mechanical results.

Throughout his life, Leonardo da Vinci made thousands of notes and drawings on anatomy, but did not publish his works. By opening the bodies of people and animals, he accurately transmitted the structure of the skeleton and internal organs, including small parts. According to Peter Abrams, professor of clinical anatomy, the scientific work of da Vinci has overtaken his time by 300 years and in many ways surpassed the famous “Grey's Anatomy”.


List of inventions, both real and attributed to Leonardo da Vinci: Parachute, Wheel castle, Bicycle, Tank, Light portable bridges for the army, Spotlight, Catapult, Robot, Two-lens telescope.


The creator of The Last Supper and The Mona Lisa proved himself as a thinker, early realizing the need for a theoretical justification of artistic practice: “Those who surrender to practice without knowledge are like a sailor embarking on a journey without a helm and a compass ... practice should always be based on good knowledge of theory. "

Demanding from the artist an in-depth study of the depicted objects, Leonardo da Vinci recorded all his observations in a notebook that he constantly carried with him. The result was a kind of intimate diary, similar to which is not found in all world literature. Drawings, drawings and sketches are accompanied here by brief notes on issues of perspective, architecture, music, science, military engineering and the like; all this is strewn with various sayings, philosophical considerations, allegories, jokes, fables. Together, the records of these 120 books represent materials for a vast encyclopedia. However, he did not seek to publish his thoughts and even resorted to cryptography; a complete decryption of his notes has not yet been completed.

Recognizing experience as the only criterion of truth and contrasting the method of observation and induction with abstract speculation, Leonardo da Vinci not only verbally, but in fact deals a mortal blow to the medieval scholasticism with its addiction to abstract logical formulas and deduction. For Leonardo da Vinci, to speak well is to think correctly, that is, to think independently, like the ancients who did not recognize any authority. So Leonardo da Vinci comes to the denial of not only scholasticism, this echo of feudal medieval culture, but also humanism, the product of an still fragile bourgeois thought, frozen in superstitious worship of the authority of the ancients. Denying book scholarship, declaring the task of science (as well as art) to know things, Leonardo da Vinci anticipates Montaigne's attacks on learned bookworms and opens the era of a new science a hundred years before Galileo and Bacon.

... Those sciences that are not generated by experience, the father of all reliability, and do not end in visual experience, are empty and full of errors ...
No human research can be called true science if it has not gone through mathematical proofs. And if you say that the sciences that begin and end in thought have truth, then you cannot agree with this, because experience without which there is no certainty does not participate in such purely mental reasoning.

Literary heritage

The tremendous literary heritage of Leonardo da Vinci has survived to the present in a chaotic form, in manuscripts written with his left hand. Although Leonardo da Vinci did not print a single line from them, however, in his notes he constantly turned to an imaginary reader and for the last years of his life did not abandon the thought of publishing his works.

Already after the death of Leonardo da Vinci, his friend and pupil Francesco Melzi selected from them passages related to painting, from which he later composed the Treatise on Painting (Trattato della pittura, 1st ed., 1651). In full, the manuscript heritage of Leonardo da Vinci was published only in the 19th-20th centuries. In addition to enormous scientific and historical significance, it also has artistic value due to its concise, energetic syllable and unusually clean language. Living in the heyday of humanism, when the Italian language was considered secondary compared with Latin, Leonardo da Vinci admired his contemporaries with the beauty and expressiveness of his speech (according to legend he was a good improviser), but did not consider himself a writer and wrote as he said; his prose is therefore an example of the colloquial language of the intelligentsia of the 15th century, and this saved it as a whole from the artificiality and greatness inherent in the prose of the humanists, although in some passages of the didactic writings of Leonardo da Vinci we find echoes of the pathos of the humanistic style.

Even in the least “poetic” fragments, Leonardo da Vinci’s syllable has a vivid imagery; Thus, his "Treatise on Painting" is equipped with magnificent descriptions (for example, the famous description of the flood), striking the mastery of verbal transmission of pictorial and plastic images. Along with descriptions in which the manner of the artist-painter is felt, Leonardo da Vinci gives many examples of narrative prose in his manuscripts: fables, facies (humorous stories), aphorisms, allegories, prophecies. In fables and fatsatsii Leonardo stands at the level of prose writers of the XIV century with their simple-minded practical morality; and some of his facies are indistinguishable from Saketti's short stories.

Allegories and prophecies are more fantastic: in the first, Leonardo da Vinci uses the techniques of medieval encyclopedias and bestiaries; the latter are in the nature of humorous riddles, distinguished by the brightness and accuracy of phraseology and imbued with a caustic, almost Voltairean irony, addressed to the famous preacher Girolamo Savonarola. Finally, in the aphorisms of Leonardo da Vinci his philosophy of nature, his thoughts about the inner essence of things are expressed in epigrammatic form. Fiction had for him a purely utilitarian, auxiliary value.

A special place in the artist’s legacy is occupied by the treatise “On the game of chess” (lat. “De Ludo Schacorum”) - the book of the Italian monk and mathematician Luca Bartolomeo Pacioli from the monastery of the Holy Sepulcher in Latin. The treatise is also known under the name "Driving Boredom" (lat. "Schifanoia"). Some illustrations for the treatise are attributed by Leonardo da Vinci, and some researchers claim that he compiled some chess problems from this collection.

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