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Leonardo Codex show on Milan

Two priceless sheets of designs and writing by Leonardo da Vinci have gone on show at Milan's city hall for the summer. The pages are from the Codex Atlanticus, a 12-volume collection of ideas, sketches and designs by the Renaissance genius. Although assembled in the 1500s, the pages were only bound into volumes 40 years ago but experts have now embarked on a lengthy project to dismantle the work into its original constituent sheets. The first two pages will go on show at the Palazzo Marino until August 31 but there are plans to eventually display all 1,119 sheets from the 'notebook' in two other locations during the years leading up to the 2015 Milan Expo. The Ambrosiana Library, which has stored the full collection for 350 years, and the Santa Maria delle Grazie Church, home to Leonardo's renowned masterpiece, The Last Supper, have been chosen to showcase the pages. ''This is a masterpiece that Milan has chosen to share with the world,'' commented the city's mayor, Letizia Moratti. Milan Expo Managing Director Lucio Stanca said the codex was ''one of the loveliest treasures'' the city had to offer.

The codex is the largest collection of Leonardo's drawings and writings, exploring his insights and ingenious ideas on a vast array of subjects, such as flying, botany, mathematics, weaponry, astronomy and architecture.

It was originally assembled in the late 16th century by the sculptor Pompeo Leoni, who dismembered a number of existing Leonardo notebooks in the process.

He gathered nearly 1,120 scraps of paper onto 402 pages, which he then bound into a single, enormous volume. A controversial restoration project of 1968-1972 split the codex into 12 leather-bound parts in efforts to help preserve it.

Plans to dismantle the work were announced in October of last year by the Ambrosiana Library, home to the codex since 1637 with the exception of 20 years in France.

by S. C.
22 july 2009, Food Notes > Miscellanea