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Leonardo da Vinci



Leonardo da Vinci

Vinci 1452 - Amboise 1519


Main works: Scritti letterari, a cura di A. Marinoni, Milano, Rizzoli 1974; Trattato della pittura, a cura di E. Camesasca, Milano, TEA 1995; Scritti scelti, a cura di A.M. Brizio, Torino, UTET 19962.

Bibliography: C. Pedretti, Studi vinciani, Genève, Libraire E. Droz 1957; C. Dionisotti, Leonardo uomo di lettere, «Italia medievale e umanistica», V, 1962, pp. 183-216; A. Chastel, Leonardo da Vinci. Studi e ricerche 1952-1990, Torino, Einaudi 1995; A. Vezzosi, Leonardo da Vinci: arte e scienza dell’universo, Trieste, Electa-Gallimard 1996; P. Marani, Leonardo da Vinci, in Dizionario Biografico degli Italiani, vol. 64 (2005); F. Frosini – C. Vecce, Leonardo da Vinci, in Il Contributo italiano alla storia del Pensiero. Filosofia, Roma, Istituto della Enciclopedia Italiana 2012.

Online resources: F. Frosini, La biblioteca di Leonardo da Vinci (PDF).



Codex Madrid II, Biblioteca Nacional de España, 1504, ff. 2v-3r.

This autograph manuscript is transcribed in I codici di Madrid. Biblioteca nazionale di Madrid, ed. L. Reti, Firenze, Giunti Barbera, 1974.

The autograph catalogue, written on three papers from a previously utilized codex manuscript, is a simple “record” of books Leonardo owned, divided into two large groups: 73 books, left “locked in the chest”, and 43 which were “in chest at the monastery”, this latter phrase not being further clarified. The document was most probably written during the second period da Vinci spent in Florence, from 1501 to 1509. Clues supporting this can be found in the manuscript itself: the “book of Giorgio Valla” can be identified as De expetendis et fugiendis rebus, printed in 1501, and da Vinci also notes having loaned two books to well-known Florentine figures, Guglielmo de’ Pazzi and the arithmetic teacher Giovanni del Sodo.

There is no physical description of the books listed. For the second group – the 43 left at the monastery – Leonardo distinguishes 48 volumes (in reality 50, since most likely some texts were composed of more than one volume) on the basis of bindings, without identifying them. For the first group, instead, he almost always gives only essential information. There are a few cases in which volumes are indicated as having wooden covers or being in parchment or painted. Texts are sometimes differentiated on the basis of their language. No thematic criterion was followed for listing the titles, which range from philosophy to literature, from mathematics to artistic theory.

The photographic reproduction of the pages and the transcription made by L. Reti can be visualized at http://www.leonardodigitale.com/login.php.


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last modify: 2014-01-23 22:29:47