Thanks to the British Library digitised versions of Leonardo da Vinci’s Visionary Notebooks have now been made available to read online offering over 500 pages from the collection to the public.
Use the links below to learn more and view the Leonardo da Vinci notebooks at your leisure, allowing you to enjoy the huge, secretive collection of manuscripts that have remained mostly unseen by public eyes.
After Leonardo’s death in France, writes the British Library, his student Francesco Melzi “brought many of his manuscripts and drawings back to Italy. Melzi’s heirs, who had no idea of the importance of the manuscripts, gradually disposed of them.” Nonetheless, over 5,000 pages of notes “still exist in Leonardo’s ‘mirror writing’, from right to left.” In the notebooks, da Vinci drew “visions of the aeroplane, the helicopter, the parachute,
Contents:Notebook of Leonardo da Vinci (‘The Codex Arundel’). A collection of papers written in Italian by Leonardo da Vinci (b. 1452, d. 1519), in his characteristic left-handed mirror-writing (reading from right to left), including diagrams, drawings and brief texts, covering a broad range of topics in science and art, as well as personal notes.
The core of the notebook is a collection of materials that Leonardo describes as ‘a collection without order, drawn from many papers, which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place according to the subjects of which they treat’ (f. 1r), a collection he began in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli in Florence, in 1508. To this notebook has subsequently been added a number of other loose papers containing writing and diagrams produced by Leonardo throughout his career. Decoration: Numerous diagrams.