My current and future research projects and publications span fifteenth- and seventeenth-century art and theory in Europe, with the focus on Leonardo. My most recent publication is a scholarly catalogue of the drawings of Leonardo and his circle in British collections (co-authored with M. Kemp), which has just been published by Giunti (Florence, 2010) as part of their prestigious Edizione Nazionale of all the Leonardo drawings and manuscripts. This work is the outcome of the research I undertook as a Junior Research Fellow at St John’s College, Oxford (2001-06), for which I was awarded a Larger Research Grant from the British Academy (2004-05). One of the new contributions that has emerged from this study revolves around compositional methods and workshop procedures, and is to provide the basis for an exhibition on Renaissance drawings and cartoons.
I am currently preparing my doctoral thesis for publication as a book: ‘Figures in motion: seventeenth-century views’. It throws light on the contrasting ways in which Leonardo’s teachings on human motion were illustrated and re-interpreted in two major seventeenth-century manuscript copies—by Peter Paul Rubens and by Nicolas Poussin—and in the editio princeps of 1651; and it discusses anew its influence on their own oeuvres, modes of design and theoretical interests. I am also involved in the organisation of an exhibition on Leonardo’s studies of motion in the Codex Atlanticus, at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan (June-September 2011), for which I have just completed the exhibition catalogue (De Agostini, June 2011). This project is at the invitation of Professor Pietro Marani and forms part of a series of thematic exhibitions. My publications on Leonardo’s manuscripts also encompass his Codex on the Flight of Birds (2008) and the Codex Arundel (2007, 2008). The latter resulted from my work as a consultant for the British Library ‘Turning the Pages’ e-project, which included my writing scholarly comments for sheets ranging from mechanics and architecture to optics and astronomy (2007).
Longer-term publication projects include a comprehensive study of Leonardo’s drawings of ‘grotesque’ heads and of the grotesque a genre; a book on genres of writing on the arts in the Italian Renaissance.
As a member of a group of international scholars, I have been involved in the philological and historical study of Leonardo’s Treatise on painting. This is a long-term project led by Francesca Fiorani at the University of Virginia, whose scope is to prepare an electronic database of the principal manuscript copies of the Treatise and establish their affiliation. A complementary, international project is the preparation of a critical edition of Leonardo’s Treatise, organised by Claire Farago at the University of Colorado at Boulder, to which I am contributing essays.