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Codex Arundel I.

Codex Arundel II.

Leonardo DA VINCI (Author)

British Library.

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Facsimile sheet:


Main theme:

Leonardo da Vinci.
35 x 50 cm.
Hand made. Gold engraved leather on wooden board.
Book and wood dust jacket.
Special “Dali” paper by Poliedra. “La Chiave di lettura” critical apparatus and editing system: numbered references are placed on transparent paper, referring to the key features of Leonardo’s original drawings and letters, enabling his work to be studied and these points commented in separate notes.




Codex Arundel is being held in British Library in London and is the most important collection of Leonardo da Vinci, after the Codex Atlanticus: 283 papers, often in double copies (size 19X12,5 cm).

Also in this collection, the papers are gathered without an apparent grouping basis or chronological order, so it happens in the nearly whole Leonardo’s collection and in the Codex Atlanticus too.

But, what can you find on these papers, whose borders and corners are often used?

Everything: drawings, thoughts, meditations, biographical notes, anatomy sketches, optical, astronomy and human physiological studies, architectonic and urbanistic plans, projects of sculptures, military machines, weapons, flying machines and hydraulic, but also letters, shopping and mathematic calculations or geometry studies.

The first 30 pages are an important exception. At the beginning there is the famous compilation program which may give you a sense of dismay. Leonardo collected and transcribed his previous notes. At the beginning he inform us that this is a collection without order, a sort of preliminary and intermediate phase of the work; and then, it would be followed by, in his intentions, a systematization of these notes.

But why Leonardo felt that everything would be unchanged, without order, almost justifying the repetitions? If it was impossible to avoid repetitions because the notes were writing in different moments and different places, why Leonardo continued to transcribe these repetitions while he was collecting them? In that moment that they were in front oh his eye? Perhaps, did Leonardo think that it was impossible to reorder the collection definitively? Indeed, only after 30 papers, everything is confused without an apparent basis. At the end the mystery is unsolved.

Leonardo was a left-handed person, but although he was able to write normally, the Codex Arundel was written from right to left with a “specular” style which seems coded, as the most of his works. His handwriting was changeable, from elegant and baroque during his youth to a clear style during the years of maturity. Then, in the last years of his life, Leonardo’s handwriting became nervous and sometimes careless.

Someone thought that the Codex Arundel may be written in the period immediately after the year 1508, but it isn’t exactly. This Codex includes many notes of different periods, from Leonardo’s youth (for ex. his sea monster and the threatening cave descriptions1478-80), to the year before his death (for ex. his royal palace project in Romorantin (France) which may be dated 1518).

IBIC Rating:

AC History of art / art & design styles
ACN History of art & design styles: c 1400 to c 1600
ACND Renaissance art
AFC Painting & paintings
AFF Drawing & drawings
AFJ Other graphic art forms
AFKB Sculpture
AMA Theory of architecture
AMC Architectural structure & design
AMX History of architecture
BGHA Autobiography: historical, political & military
CBX Language: history & general works
DNF Literary essays
HBJD European history
HBLH Early modern history: c 1450/1500 to c 1700
JWM Weapons & equipment
KFC Accounting
MB Medicine: general issues
MBX History of medicine
MFC Anatomy
PB Mathematics
PBM Geometry
PBX History of mathematics
PDX History of science
PH Physics
PHD Classical mechanics
PHJ Optical physics
PST Botany & plant sciences
PSV Zoology & animal sciences
TBX History of engineering & technology
TBY Inventions & inventors
TNF Hydraulic engineering
TRP Aerospace & aviation technology
TTM Military engineering
WCS Antiques & collectables: books, manuscripts, ephemera & printed matter

1D Europe
1DBK United Kingdom, Great Britain
1DDF France
1DST Italy
2ADT Italian
3H c 1000 CE to c 1500
3JB c 1500 to c 1600