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“Each and Every One of the Books”

Castle of Clos Lucé, Amboise, April 23, 1519: A few days before his death (May 2), Leonardo wills to his last pupil, Francesco Melzi, “each and every one of the books that the said testator has at present and other instruments and drawings pertaining to his art and calling as a painter.”

Tools of Knowledge

Notebooks in his own hand and the books in his library: more than 200 volumes, an extraordinary tool of knowledge encompassing every field of study, which accompany Leonardo’s scientific and intellectual research throughout his life.

“Man Without Letters”?

Books: one of the least well-known aspects of the world of Leonardo, who was by no means a “man without letters”. His writings reveal the profile not of an artist and scientist isolated from his era, but on the contrary, a man in constant, profound contact with books, culture, and both ancient and modern authors (as he called them, “altori”).

The exhibition Leonardo and His Books is an invitation to enter into the most secret part of Leonardo’s laboratory to discover the work and research methods that proceeded side-by-side with his “experience” gained from Nature “the teacher”. The exemplary library of an intellectual-artist who stood at the threshold of modernity in a moment of transformation of the system of communication: the passage from handwritten books to the printing press.