Leonardo da Vinci Society Newsletter

editor:  Francis Ames-Lewis

 

Issue 13,  November 1998

Recent and forthcoming events

 

Poetry on Art — Artists’ Poetry, 1400-1750

 

 

A Leonardo da Vinci Society conference on this theme was held at the Warburg Institute on 13 June 1998. Bruce Boucher (University College, London) writes:

            Leonardo once called poetry ‘blind painting’ and was sufficiently taken with traditional comparisons between the two arts that he returned to the comparison frequently in his writings. Thus it was appropriate that the Leonardo da Vinci Society’s most recent conference, under the chairmanship of Dr Thomas Frangenberg (University of Leicester), addressed the perennial theme of art and poetry. The conference did not simply deal with the question of the paragone in Italy, but ranged over three centuries and as many countries in a series of stimulating and methodologicaly diverse papers.

            Franćois Quiviger opened the proceedings with a reading of a little known burlesque poem by Bronzino, Il capitolo del penello, a hymn to the artist’s brush, followed by an analysis of its sources in Alberti and Erasmus. The theme of comedy also pervaded Giovanna Perini’s account of poems by Bolognese painters from the Renaissance to the Baroque periods, in which an unintentionally humorous painting by the little-known Giovannino da Capugnano was presented. Perini stressed the conventional nature of encomiastic poetry by and about Bolognese poets from Francia to the Carracci; in particular, she placed poems about the hapless Giovannino in the context of traditional blame for pittori ridicoli.

            Mary Rogers presented a detailed analysis of a poem by the sixteenth-century courtesan Veronica Franco on the celebrated Villa della Torre at Fumane, in which a visit became the pretext for a metrical tour in the convention of the locus amoenus. The morning session ended with Charles Ford’s thought-provoking comparison of prose and poetry in Karel van Mander’s Schilderboek of 1604. Ford demonstrated the tripartite nature of van Mander’s book with celebratory poems urging the intellectual status of painters, while the more historical sections on artists’ lives and on mythology are in prose.

            Paul Holberton began the afternoon session with an exploration of the Leonardesque theme of painting as ‘muta poesia’, focusing upon some portraits by Giorgione and his followers. Henry Keazor identified the Jesuit poet Pierre Le Moyne as the author of the earliest known poem about a painting by Poussin. He showed how subtle an interpreter of the artist’s intentions the poet was, stressing Poussin’s exploitation of the emotions provoked by St Francis Xavier’s resuscitation of a dead Japanese girl. Thomas Frangenberg returned to the paragone of nature and art in his discussion of poems celebrating Giovanni Cerrini’s frescoes in the Roman church of Santa Maria della Vittoria. The poems revolve around the topos of nature and art in competition, whereby the poems activate the illusionism in Cerrini’s work.

            In the final paper, Malcolm Baker examined the role of verse in English sculpture of the early eighteenth century, pointing to a number of cases in which poetry contextualises busts, funerary monuments and statues like Roubiliac’s figure of Handel for Vauxhall Gardens. A number of points were raised in the general discussion, but perhaps the lasting impression of the conference lay with the manner in which the poetry under consideration complemented the artists’ works but existed independently of the artefacts.

 

Scienza della Visione. Aspetti e strumenti tra Leonardo e l’etą moderna

 

An exhibition jointly organised by the Istituto Regionale di Studi Ottici e Optometrici and the Museo Leonardiano di Vinci was mounted at the Museo Leonardiano in the Palazzino Uzielli at Vinci from 20 June to 25 October 1998. The aim was to document various important aspects of the history and development of the science of vision. The second section was devoted to some 150 optical instruments which illustrate the development of instrumentation for the scientific study of vision up to modern times. The first section dealt with ‘Leonardo and the theory of vision’, opening with Leonardo’s theory as a mirror both of the medieval tradition and of his own innovative thought. This was done with the aid of models and experiments, generated from his drawings on the subject, that provided information concerning Leonardo’s hypotheses on the nature of light, on the anatomy of the eye, and on his theories which marked the transition from medieval ‘perspectiva’ to modern optics.

 

 

A Symposium on ‘Illustrations to books on the arts’

 

Coinciding with the Leonardo da Vinci Society AGM on Friday 7 May 1999, aty the Warburg INstitute, Woburn Square, London WC1, a symposium will be held on the theme ‘Illustrations to books on the arts, from the fifteenth to the eighteenth century’. To propose a paper, or for further information, please contact:

Dr Rodney Palmer,

88 Ifield Road,

London SW10 9AD

tel./fax 0171-352.5641

e-mail: <rodpalmer63@hotmail.com>

 

 

 

Leonardesque News

 

A new book on the early Leonardo

 

It cannot be often that an art-historical hypothesis wins a front-page banner headline in The Times of London. David Alan Brown achieved this accolade in a report entitled ‘Leonardo’s “first painting” discovered in London’ written by the Times’ arts correspondent Dalya Alberge, and published on Saturday 15 August 1998. Needless to say, the headline somewhat exaggerates Brown’s claims for Verrocchio’s Tobias and the Angel in the National Gallery, London. In his book, entitled Leonardo da Vinci. Origins of a Genius and published a few weeks ago by Yale University Press, and in his lecture given at the National Gallery on 12 October, Brown has developed a closely-argued but (as he himself admits) not entirely original hypothesis about the nature of Leonardo’s collaboration in Verrocchio’s workshop in the later 1460s and early 1470s.

            In his lecture, Brown’s discussion ranged across a group of works that he dates between 1472 and 1476 which are now generally accepted by Leonardo scholars as autograph. These include the British Museum Bust of a Warrior drawing, which Brown characterised as ‘more pugnatious... more animated’ than its Verrocchio prototypes, the Uffizi landscape drawing that Leonardo dated 1473, the Uffizi Annunciation — ‘gifted but immature’ — and the Washington portrait of Ginevra de’Benci. Recent scientific examination of this cut-down panel has allowed the National Gallery of Art to produce a computer-aided reconstruction (on Apple Macintosh using Adobe Photoshop) incorporating the Windsor drawing of two hands.

            Brown showed how in these paintings Leonardo’s oil-painting technique, which he used from around 1470, is still immature and uncertain. What is progressively more mature and sophisticated is Leonardo’s observation and record of the natural world. Comparing the beautiful drawing of a lily at Windsor with the lily held by the angel of the Uffizi Annunciation, Brown suggested that Leonardo’s earliest contribution was his representation of the natural world in all its complexity. He compared the spiral forms of the curls of Ginevra de’Benci’s hair with the helical movements of nature, such as the flow of water. From the first, Leonardo’s special feeling for the natural world led to his passionate absorption in nature and his painstaking search for a technique in which to express this.

            In the light of this discussion, Brown turned to the National Gallery’s Tobias and the Angel, which he considers to be a Verrocchio workshop product dating from around 1468, and developed his hypothesis about the involvement of the teenaged Leonardo. He stressed Verrocchio’s competitive response to the work of the Pollaiuolo brothers, and especially in this case to their recent painting of Tobias and the Angel for Or San Michele in Florence, and now in the Galleria Sabauda in Turin. He suggested that the essentially sculptural background of Verrocchio’s own artistic career made him ‘indifferent to nature’, and prevented him from engaging with natural forms and their representation: thus, for example, the angel’s wings have none of the bird-like naturalism of the feathers painted by the Pollaiuoli in their version. On the other hand, the fish held by Tobias and the little dog trotting along beside the angel outclass Pollaiuolo’s prototypes in their naturalism. The curls of the dog’s hair and of the angel of the Uffizi Annunciation are ’almost interchangeable’, and the fish is painted with an unprecedented freedom of handling in order to achieve the most naturalistic effects possible of colour and texture.

            Of the painters active at that time in Verrocchio’s workshop, only Leonardo da Vinci, Brown believes, had the observational and painterly skills to introduce such faithful and naturalistic details. If The Times’ headline exaggerated by claiming the Tobias and the Angel as Leonardo’s ‘first painting’, Brown nevertheless considers it perhaps the earliest work in which Leonardo’s precocious hand can be identified.

 

 

Raccolta Vinciana, volume XXVII, 1997

 

A special ceremony was convened by the Ente Raccolta Vinciana at the Villa Melzi, Vaprio d’Adda (Milan) on 5 June 1998. At this event Prof. Carlo Maccagni (University of Geneva) and Prof Carlo Pedretti (UCLA) made a presentation of the 1997 volume of Raccolta Vinciana. This volume is entirely devoted to a new edition of Luca Pacioli’s De viribus quantitatis, edited by the late Augusto Marinoni and Maria Garlaschi Peirani.

 

 

The Last Supper to be unveiled soon

 

When Pietro Marani gave the first Leonardo da Vinci Society Annual Lecture in 1989 on ‘Leonardo’s Last Supper: some problems of the restoration and new light on Leonardo’s art’, Pinin Brambilla Barcilon had already been at work on the restoration for some ten years. Nearly another ten years later, the mural is at length to be unveiled to the public early in 1999. Now that earlier repainting has been removed, it transpires that no more than 50% of Leonardo’s original paint survives. However, the apostles’ heads turn out to be better preserved than many other areas, and now the original features can be seen. In earlier restorations, so says Dr Barcilon, ‘the position of the eyes had been altered; mouths that were partially open had been closed; beards that Leonardo never painted had been added; and the actual dimensions of the heads had been changed.’ We hope to print a fuller report of the mural’s appearance after the unveiling in a future issue of this Newsletter.

 

 

The Sforza Horse: latest news

 

The most recent news received about the LDVHI (Leonardo da Vinci’s Horse Inc.) project for casting a full-scale bronze of Leonardo’s Sforza horse, for erection in Milan, comes from the September 1998 issue of the Smithsonian Magazine, published in Washington D.C. Their profusely-illustrated article, entitled ‘A Long Shot Pays Off. 500 Years Late, but 56 Hands High’, informs the reader that the seven sections of the final bronze cast will be flown from the United States to Milan at Alitalia’s expense. It will be unveiled on its pedestal on 10 September 1999, 500 years to the day since Leonard’s clay model was shot to pieces by the invading French crossbowmen. ‘Supported by a welded-steel armature on its pedestal in Milan’, we are told, ‘the completed bronze will weigh 15 tons’.

 

 

A new Leonardo da Vinci drawing? Or merely a new drawing?

 

Much excitement was generated in the Italian press at the end of September 1998 by the unmasking of a previously little-known drawing attributed to Leonardo as a sketch made in 1961. Shown in an exhibition in Bologna for several months as by ‘Leonardo da Vinci ?’, the drawing showing a rearing horse with a nude soldier astride was regarded by scholars as probably a preparatory sketch drawn in around 1504 for the Battle of Anghiari. The drawing was displayed again in an exhibition entitled ‘Leonardo e la pulzella di Camaiore’ currently on show at the Museo di Arte Sacra in Camaiore, a small town not far from Lucca, as by ‘Leonardo da Vinci with the intervention of an assistant’. The cautionary question mark was dropped on the grounds that the drawing had been accepted as by Leonardo by several specialists during the Bologna showing. At Camaiore, however, the drawing was seen by a local artist of high repute, Riccardo Tommasi Ferroni, who recognised it as a sketch that he himself had made as a preparatory study for his own painted version of the Battle of Anghiari that he was working on in 1961. The artist declared his authorship to the Guardia di Finanza, who promptly impounded the drawing and lodged it in the vaults of the Banca d’Italia in Lucca for safe keeping. The drawing belongs to a private collector in Bologna, one Roberto Franchi, who acquired it some twenty years ago from another collector for the sum of one million lire. He has now conceded that the drawing is not by Leonardo, but was made only thirty-seven years ago.

 

 

Leonardo da Vinci — books for the schoolchild and the younger student

Vivienne Northcote writes: Leonardo da Vinci suffers, in this century, from the overuse of one of his paintings — the Mona Lisa — as an icon to represent the fantasies of artists and particularly of advertisers. For many children this is therefore the only image that they associate with him. One reason for this is the paucity of simple, clear material about Leonardo which is available in the United Kingdom for schoolchildren and younger students. There are some good introductions to his work in such overview writings as Frederick Hartt’s History of Italian Renaissance Art. Often, however, these sections have to be all too brief and, while accurate, simplify and edit to the point where distortion inevitably creeps in. Again they tend to focus on one or two images — usually the Mona Lisa and the Last Supper.                                                     Leonardo’s panel paintings were, of course, relatively few in number and can therefore be presented reasonably clearly. However, his drawings and writings are so prolific that to provide a schoolchild with a simple outline of his work is extremely difficult. Taking three of the publications currently available as examples, something of the challenge can be seen.                Leonardo da Vinci. Artist, Inventor and Scientist of the Renaissance, by F. Romei, in the Masters of Art series, is evidently aimed at younger secondary-school pupils, and is a good introduction to the work of Leonardo, setting him within the context of earlier developments and contemporary artists. It is in large format and is a bright and cheerful production. It combines reproductions of Leonardo’s works with modern illustrations of workshops and — most interestingly — a visualisation of the cage for the Sforza Horse. The material is presented chronologically and there is a time-line and a list of Leonardo’s Notebooks. This book avoids opinion and sticks to facts which for the younger age-group is perhaps just as well. It thus misses, however, the opportunity to alert pupils to the great range of scholarship about Leonardo.                                                                                           The Life and Works of Leonardo da Vinci, by Linda Doeser, presents illustrations of the main works by Leonardo in chronological order, with a short text by each one. These texts are opinionated and contain several remarks which established scholars would want to take issue with. The book perhaps speaks for itself in that it is a ‘Compilation of works from the Bridgeman Art Library’. It includes for example a reference to Leonardo’s works on the deluge, but no illustrations of his studies of water or plant forms. There is no bibliography and thus no way for the student to progress without further guidance.                                          Leonardo da Vinci, Renaissance Man, by Alessandro Vezzosi, in the New Horizons series published by Thames and Hudson, is a small pocket book crammed full of illustrations and information. The text is interesting and, as one would expect, accurate. However, in his desire to touch on every aspect of the problems surrounding Leonardo’s work, Vezzosi has produced a book with many references to important issues but with no substantial explanation, little contextual information, and the assumption that the reader will have considerable knowledge of the Renaissance in general. This is, therefore, the sort of book that a struggling student will be happy to tuck into a bag for a quick revision programme, but is too complex for its small format to be of help to the schoolchild. The pages are so full, with images and text often juxtaposed in an irritating fashion, that it all becomes a little hectic.                                                                                   All these books retail for relatively low sums. This no doubt accounts for some of the problems — publishers being severely restrained by costs. It might, however, help the problem if an introductory book on the life and work of Leonardo could be produced which was less profusely illustrated but had a much more detailed text. It is generally agreed that Leonardo’s thinking was way ahead of its time and has much to say to us even today. There is a clear need for children to have material to hand that will give them a real insight into the life of Leonardo, so that when they see the endless bowdlerisations of his more popular works they can form a balanced opinion.

 

 

 

Recent publications on Leonardo da Vinci

 

The Ente Raccolta Vinciana has recently published two important contributions to Leonardo studies. The first is a volume, edited by Edoardo Villani, entitled Leonardo da Vinci. I Documenti e le Testimonianze Contemporanee, (Milano, Castello Sforzesco 1999). Building on the great register of Leonardo documents and early source references, the Documenti e memorie riguardanti la vita e le opere di Leonardo da Vinci in ordine cronologico, published eighty years ago by Luca Beltrami, this volume adds documents recently published by scholars such as Cristoph Frommel, Giovanbattista Sannazzaro, Grazioso Sironi, and Janice Shell. It omits, however, later sixteenth-century sources from Vasari onwards (on the grounds that all these have been philologically reedited and fully commented upon by scholars such as Rosanna Bettarini and Paola Barocchi), preferring to concentrate on textual comnments of the first half of the sixteenth century. The register of documents includes Leonardo’s own ricordi and personal notes, found scattered through his notebooks. Each transcription includes a bibliography of references in the scholarly literature up to 1999.

            The second major contribution published by the Ente Raccolta Vinciana in 1999, The Manuscripts of Leonardo da Vinci in the Institut de France: Manuscript A,  is the first volume in a new series of English translations of the group of Leonardo manuscripts in the Institut de France in Paris. Published with the assistance of the Getty Grant Program, the new English edition of Manuscript A has been translated and annotated by John Venerella; publication of Manuscripts I, M and C will follow shortly. Since these volumes are seen as complements to the recently completed series of high-quality facsimiles, there are few illustrations. By correcting earlier uncertain readings and errors in translation, and by offering new interpretations of obscure terms and passages, however, the translator is providing authoritative texts for the English-speaking readership of Leonardo’s notebooks.

 

Raccolta Vinciana XXVIII, 1999

 

The 1999 issue of Raccolta Vinciana, also published by the Ente Raccolta Vinciana in Milan, includes the following articles:

 

R. Nanni, ‘Osservazione, convenzione, ricomposizione nel paesaggio leonardiano del 1473’;

V. Pini, ‘Vicende del privilegio di Saronno concesso da Ludovico il Moro a Cecilia Gallerani (1491-1513)’;

L. Brescia and L. Tomďo, ‘Leonardo da Vinci e il segreto del vetro cristallino, pannicolato, flessibile e infrangibile’;

P.C. Marani, ‘Presentazione del restauro del Cenacolo di Leonardo da Vinci’;

E.Villata, ‘Ancora sul San Giovanni Battista di Leonardo’;

C. Pedretti, ‘“Non mi fuggir, donzella...”’;

C.D. Duane, ‘The San Cristoforo irrigation outlets in Milan’;

R. Antonelli, ‘Gli studi preparatori di Giuseppe Bossi per il cartone del “Parnaso”’;

M.V. Guffanti, ‘Contributo alla fortuna di Leonardo in Inghilterra’;

ibid, ‘Nota sull’edizione del 1859 del Trattato Della Pittura di Leonardo’.

There is also a substantial and important section devoted to the ‘Bibliographia leonardiana, 1997-1999.

 

Select Leonardo bibliography,1998-1999

 

Bernard, G. G., ed., Leonardo e le meraviglie della Biblioteca reale di Torino, exh. cat (Biblioteca reale, Turin, 1998-9), Milano: Electa ; Torino: Biblioteca reale, 1998.

Brambilla Barcilon, P., and P. C. Marani, Leonardo : L'ultima cena , Milano : Electa, 1999.

Brown, D. A., Leonardo da Vinci : origins of a genius , New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1998.

Daley, M., ‘The supper’s finished’, Art Review  51 (July/Aug. 1999), pp. 22-3.

Dunton, C., ‘Meaning and appearance- a Merleau-Pontian account of Leonardo's studies from life’, Art History 22, no.3 (September 1999), pp. 331-46.

Eichholz, G., Das Abendmahl Leonardo da Vincis: eine systematische Bildmonographie, Munchen: Scaneg, 1998.

Fabjan, B. and P. C. Marani, eds, Leonardo : la Dama con l'ermellino, exh cat., Palazzo del Quirinale, Rome,1998,  Pinacoteca di Brera, Milan, 1998, and Palazzo Pitti, Florence, 1998-9), Cinisello Balsamo (Milano): Silvana, 1998.

F. Frosini, ed., Tutte le opere non son per istancarmi : raccolta di scritti per i settant’anni di Carlo Pedretti, Roma: Edizioni associate, 1998.

Herding, K., Freuds Leonardo : eine Auseinandersetzung mit  psychoanalytischen Theorien der Gegenwart, Munchen: Carl Friedrich von Siemens Stiftung, 1998.

I Leonardeschi : l'ereditą di Leonardo in Lombardia (saggi di G. Bora et al.), Milano: Skira, 1998.

Leonardo da Vinci, 1452-1519, (G. Bologna, ed.): Leonardo a Milano , Novara : De Agostini, 1998.

Marani, P. C., Leonardo : una carriera di pittore, Milano: F. Motta, 1999.

Marani, P. C., L'Ambrosiana e Leonardo, exh. cat. (Biblioteca-Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, 1998-9), Novara: Interlinea ; Milano: Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, 1998.

Masters, R. D., Fortune is a river : Leonardo da Vinci and Niccolė Machiavelli's magnificent dream to change the course of Florentine history, New York/London: Free Press, 1998.

Pedretti, C., ed., Leonardo e la Pulzella di Camaiore : inediti vinciani e capolavori della scultura lucchese del primo Rinascimento, exh. cat. (Camaiore, 1998-9), Firenze: Giunti, 1998.

Pizzagalli, D., La dama con l'ermellino : vita e passioni di Cecilia Gallerani nella Milano di Ludovico il Moro, Milano: Rizzoli, 1999.

Schramm, G. (ed.), Leonardo : Bewegung und Ruhe, Freiburg im Breisgau: Rombach Verlag, 1999.

Schröder, K. and  K. Irle, “Ich habe quadriere den Kreis ...” : Leonardo da Vincis Proportionsstudie, Munster ; New York: Waxmann, 1998.

Vecce, C., Leonardo, Roma: Salerno, 1998.

Zwijnenberg, R.,The writings and drawings of Leonardo da Vinci : order and chaos in early modern thought, New York: Cambridge University Press, 1999.

Abstract: In his drawings, Leonardo appears to oscillate between two positions: he advocates an approach that will achieve the most convincing pictorial results, while at the same time, he produces intelligent analysis not simply in the service of rendering surface appearance, but in the service of knowledge itself. However, he clearly equates the receptivity of the mind with the properties of sight, so that the real distinction is not between practical and theoretical advice, between artistic and scientific activity, but between the pendant theories of active and passive vision. The writer applies Merleau-Ponty's conception of viewpoint to Leonardo's position, setting his problem of meaning and appearance in a more specific context. She demonstrates that Leonardo's apparent oscillation between the mind that mirrors the objects of nature and that which expands nature's laws is, in fact, consonant with Merleau-Ponty's double presence--implicit in perception--of the visual world and the self.

 

Abstract: In the run-up to completing her restoration of Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper, Dr. Pinin Barcilon Brambilla attracted massive criticism. By all accounts, hers has been the most intolerant and hugely invasive restoration campaign imaginable. She has systematically banished every last trace of previous restorations, including Mauro Pellicioli's much-acclaimed work of 1951-54, thereby severing the historical continuity of the mural. In the process, she has also revealed vast amounts of bare wall, rendering necessary the single biggest repainting of the mural ever undertaken. In terms of its artistic consequences, her own repainting merits harsh criticism: It is by turns feeble, half-hearted, intrusive, unhistorical, and inconsistent.

 

The restoration of the Uffizi Annunciation

 

0n 13 May the Sindaco of Vinci, Giancarlo Faenzi, hosted a presentation by Antonio Natali and Alfio Del Serra of the recently completed programme of resoration on Leonardo da Vinci’s early Annunciation in the Uffizi, Florence. We hope to carry a report of this programme and its findings in a future issue of the Newsletter.

 

Lettura Vinciana XL, 2000

 

The fortieth Lettura Vinciana, entitled ‘L’Autonoma programmabile di Leonardo’, was delivered at the Biblioteca Leonardiana, Vinci, on Saturday 15 April 2000 by Mark Elling Rosheim. The lecture revolved around Leonardo’s design in Codex Atlanticus, f.812 recto, for a programmable ‘robot’. In 1478, at the age of twenty-six, Leonardo designed a prorgrammable automaton, perhaps the prototype of the legendary mechanical lion of some forty years later. The influence of ancient texts on Leonardo and the affinity of his early technological conception with an eighteenth-century Japanese automaton were reviewed and illustrated in the lecture. Mark Elling Rosheim proceeded to speculate about the possible loss of detailed studies for automata from Codex Madrid I, where only hints of these remain. In order to understand these better, he introduced the famous De motu animalium by Giovanni Alfonso Borelli (1608-79), because of its striking similarities to Leonardo’s studies on the mechanics of human movement. Leonardo’s programmable ‘robot’ was then interpreted on the basis of sketches and fragmentary construction drawings in the Codex Atlanticus and elsewhere in the Leonardo corpus. Finally, the detailed operation and control of the reconstructed automaton was explained and illustrated.

            The lecturer is the author of various important studies on the history of robotics, and especially of anthroporobotics (notably his Robot Evolution: the Development oi Althroporobotics, 1994). President of Ross-Hime Designs Inc of Minneapolis, which works for NASA, the US space agency, Mark Elling Rosheim several years ago took up the problem of the interpretation of the leonardesque documents and designs for his ‘robot’. The results of his initial research were published as ‘Leonardo’s Lost Robot’ in Achademia Leonardo Vinci 9, 1996, pp. 00-00. An initial digital reconstruction of Leonardo’s ‘robot’ was displayed in the New York edition of the Florentine Instituto e Museo di Storia della Scienza’s exhibition of Renaissance Engineers from Brunelleschi to Leonardo.

 

 

The art of invention at the Science Museum, Exhibition Road, South Kensington, London.

 

The run of the exhibition entitled ‘The art of invention: Leonardo da Renaissance engineers’, reviewed by J.V. Field in the last issue (issue 15, November 1999) of this Newsletter, has been extended until the end of August 2000. Having been ‘strongly advised’ by our Hon. President to see this exhibition, readers of this issue who hitherto have not heeded the advice still therefore have the opportunity to visit this splendid exhibition. At the entrance to the exhibition is a long showcase containing facsimiles of all Leonardo da Vinci’s surviving notebooks: this offers a valuable chance to compare the sizes and principal contents of these books. Your editor can confirm J.V. Field’s experience that the models of machine designs by Brunelleschi, Mariano Taccola, Francesco di Giorgio Martini and Leonardo himself are impressive, elegantly constructed and beautifully finished. It is understandable, though a pity, that they are not displayed under working conditions, but the smaller-scale metal-geared models effectively demonstrate how the machines worked, and allow the visitor to build up a picture of the technological development of machine design during the fifteenth century in Tuscany.

 

 

The Leonardo da Vinci Society

 

Proposals for future events - conferences, symposia, lectures, or other activities that the Society might sponsor or undertake - are always welcomed by the Committee. Please write to any of the officers listed below if you have any suggestions to offer. The Committee is also anxious to recruit new blood to its membership, so if any readers have ideas to contribute and would be interested in serving, please will they let us know of them.

           

            President: Dr J.V. Field, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD; e-mail: jv.field@hart.bbk.ac.uk

            Vice-President: Dr Francis Ames-Lewis, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD; tel.: 0171.631.6108; fax: 0171.631.6107; e-mail: f.ames-lewis@hart.bbk.ac.uk

            Secretary/Treasurer: Dr Thomas Frangenberg, Department of Art History, University of Leicester, University Road, Leicester, LE1 7RH, UK; tel.: 01533 522522. fax: 01533 522220.                                                  Please send items for publication to the editor of the Leonardo da Vinci Society Newsletter, Francis Ames-Lewis, Department of History of Art, Birkbeck College, 43 Gordon Square, London WC1H 0PD; fax: 0171.631.6107; e-mail: f.ames-lewis@hart.bbk.ac.uk