This is the first work that reproduces with total loyalty the original codices of Leonardo and his manuscripts.
The text is written with typographic characters, that are easy to understand and it is enriched with various indications, which are punctuated in transparence to make the reading easier. It is not only an object of research and scientific studies but it is easy to consult, too.
Among all Leonardo’s work, there are more than 5000 papers of notes, which are written with a symmetric handwriting from right to left. After Leonardo’s
death, all these manuscripts met many adversities.
Francesco Melzi, his true disciple, inherited all these notebooks and he gave them a particular division. Melzi’s heirs , after his death (1570), dispersed all the manuscripts. At the beginning, they let the notes in a loft and then they gave them as presents or sold them for little money to friends or collectors because they didn’t understand their importance. Even the seventeenth-century sculptor Pompeo Leoni contributed to disperse the manuscripts. In order to divide Leonardo’s artistic drawings from the technological drawings and unify the scientific pages , Leoni separated the original manuscripts and created two great collections: The Codex Atlanticus and The Windsor Collection, which has about 600 drawings. In the same way, Leoni produced at least other four folders. From 1637 to 1796 a part of the manuscripts was in the Ambrosiana Library but when Napoleon arrived to Milan, he made them steal. In 1851, only a part of these came back to Milan, some were in Paris and some in Spain where they were found in 1966.
This is the real story about the dispersion of Leonardo’s notes. Nowadays, there are ten different codices:
1. CODEX LEICESTER (EX HAMMER)
In this work you can find all Leonardo’s incredible intuitions about astronomy and waters. A volume, 350 pages, 350 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).
2. DRAWINGS FROM 1470 TO 1489 – FROM 1490 TO 1519
In this manuscript there are 506 Leonardo’s drawings, which are saved in the most prestigious museums and in private collections all around the world. Two volumes, 956 pages, 506 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).
3. NOTEBOOKS OF ANATOMY
In this notebook you can read Leonardo’s scientific conclusions and thoughts about human body and its functions. One volume, 718 pages, 1100 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).
4. CODEX TRIVULZIANUS
AND "ON THE FLIGHT OF BIRDS"
The fascinating mystery of flight and all Leonardo’s intuitions about the topic. In Codex Trivulzianus, Leonardo analyzed the problem of the language and this work seems the first project of a vocabulary. One volume, 582 pages, 130 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).
5. CODEX OF ANATOMY
Leonardo’s works about human body, the first anatomic drawings and the first thoughts. A volume, 440 pages, 1100 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).
6. CODEX ATLANTICUS
In this work science and art are wonderfully united. Leonardo anticipated the concept of encyclopedia. Three volumes, (the third is in planning), 2000 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).
7. CCODEX "A"
It mainly gathers pictorial, scientific-mathematical works which Leonardo made between 1489 and 1492. A volume, 395 pages, 196 drawings (the facsimile of the original drawings).