Event—Public Programming

Leonardo's Books: New Light on Leonardo's Intellectual World


In our age, Leonardo da Vinci is regarded as an outstanding genius, the lonely forerunner of modern science and technology, able to read directly in the great Book of Nature without the mediation of culture or literacy. His manuscripts tell another reality: that of a man deeply rooted in his times, in dialogue with contemporary intellectuals and artists, and mostly with ancient and modern authors. As a passionate reader of both scientific and literary texts, young Leonardo in Florence approached works such as Dante's Comedy, Ovid's Metamorphoses, Pliny's Natural History. At the end of his life, he owned almost 200 books: an extraordinary number, in fifteenth century, for a man who was not a professional of literacy and culture, but an artist and an engineer. This research project (developed by Accademia dei Lincei and Museo Galileo) aims at the reconstruction of Leonardo's library, in order to give new light on his extraordinary intellectual world.

Carlo Vecce, Professor of Italian Literature in the University of Naples "L'Orientale", is a Renaissance scholar, specialized in history of intellectual workshops in the dawn of Modern Age, and in relationships between languages (literature and visual culture, Leonardo da Vinci). Among his publications, the monograph Leonardo (1998, translated in several languages), and editions of Leonardo's manuscripts (Book on Painting and Codex Arundel).

This program is co-sponsored by the Istituto Italiano di Cultura, Chicago.