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MILAN (Reuters) - Experts have begun unbinding Leonardo Da Vinci's 12-volume Atlantic Code, a move they say will help preserve the Italian master's largest collection of drawings and writings and allow some pages to go on display.
Sheets of the Code, which holds Da Vinci's ideas on geometry, nature, weaponry, anatomy and other subjects, will be exhibited in September in the Milan church that houses his 'Last Supper' fresco.
The Code or Codex Atlanticus is conserved in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana library in Milan.
"There are some 2,000 designs (in the Code) and being held in 12 volumes they weren't visible," Father Franco Buzzi of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana told a news conference on Monday.
"Now we are going from invisibility to the possibility of seeing (the works)."
The Code is made up of 1,119 sheets and was originally assembled in the 16th century by sculptor Pompeo Leoni.
A 1968-1972 restoration project split the Code into 12 parts in efforts to help preserve it.
The unbinding process was preceded by consultation with relevant authorities and international experts, the Biblioteca Ambrosiana said, adding the move would allow a "more suitable preservation" of the works.
It has yet to determine which pages will go on display at the Santa Maria delle Grazie church, home to the 'Last Supper' mural. Buzzi told Reuters some 20-40 sheets would probably go on display. Further details are expected in June.
The library said there would be also temporary exhibitions of the works abroad.
Some 500 years after his death, Da Vinci's works continue to fascinate the world.
Last month Italian experts said a sketch obscured by handwriting for five centuries in one of Da Vinci's notebooks may be a youthful self-portrait.
Reporting by Marie-Louise Gumuchian, editing by Paul Casciato