Da Vinci's Atlantic Code goes on display in Milan

Fri Jul 17, 2009 12:53pm EDT
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By Nigel Tutt

MILAN (Reuters Life!) - Leonardo Da Vinci's Atlantic Code, seen containing the widest range of the Renaissance genius's ideas, will go on display from September in a show taking six years to see all 1,119 pages.

Milan gave a taster for the full show on Friday, showing off two pages of the code, original name Codex Atlanticus, in the city hall. The full exhibition will run up to Milan's international Expo in 2015.

"There are different types of pages, some just writing and including the writer telling fables and funny stories as well as engineering designs and cooking recipes," Don Francesco Braschi of Milan's Ambrosiana Library, the Code's home, told Reuters.

"There is a bit of everything," he said, comparing the Atlantic Code with its companion volume at England's Royal Windsor Castle. That volume mainly focuses on anatomy and medicine and other shorter codes written by Da Vinci.

For many, Da Vinci is better known as the painter of the "Mona Lisa," but also wrote throughout his artistic career.

The two pages on show to the end of August in the town hall include a drawing of a pair of pivotless compasses with a ring opening system. A second page is on naval actions to be carried out against an enemy fleet.

Many of Da Vinci innovative designs were for war machines as well as designs for construction. They include such items as cranes, engineering devices, flying machines, suits for walking underwater and equipment for walking on water.

In the full show from September the Ambrosiana will show the whole Atlantic Code by putting on display 25 new pages each three months. Showing the complete work will take six years, Braschi said.

The pages are in "very good" condition free from bacteria and mold, Braschi said.

(Reporting and writing by Nigel Tutt, editing by Paul Casciato)

<p>A sheet of Leonardo Da Vinci's 12-volume Atlantic Code on display in Milan July 17, 2009. REUTERS/Stefano Rellandini</p>