Bought at auction by Bill Gates in 1994 for over $30 million: Leonardo da Vinci's studies on nature

Codex Hammer

Italy — 1508–1510

Codex Hammer

Codex Hammer

Italy — 1508–1510

  1. This notebook documents Leonardo da Vinci's (1452–1519) study of all things natural, e.g. water currents, fossils, and astronomy

  2. Named after American oil tycoon Armand Hammer, who owned it before its current owner, Bill Gates

  3. It was assembled as a compendium of writings from the years 1508–10 by Leonardo himself

Codex Hammer

Alternative Titles:
  • Il Codice Hammer
  • Codex Leicester
Codex Hammer – Bill Gates Collection (Seattle, USA)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

This artifact from Leonardo da Vinci’s written legacy gives us intimate knowledge of him as a student of nature. The so-called Codex Hammer, also known as the Codex Leicester, is comprised of notations concerning all aspects of the perception of nature, e.g. the water currents or astronomical studies. The American oil tycoon Armand Hammer leant the codex his name before Bill Gates acquired the treasure for his collection.

Codex Hammer

The Codex Hammer, also known as the Codex Leicester, is a coveted collector’s item: named after the oil tycoon Armand Hammer, this treasure was acquired in 1994 by Bill Gates and is stored in the Bill Gates Collection in Seattle. The codex contains some indispensable texts for Leonardo research.

Personal Notes and Unbelievable Sketches

The so-called Codex Hammer is a unique artifact from the written legacy of Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Originating from the years 1508–1510, the compendium of texts as it exists today was presumably compiled by Leonardo himself. The codex consisted of 72 pages in the format of 29 x 22 cm and was appended with a single sheet with character studies, named the Hammer 20. This is purely a notebook, in which Leonardo recorded his thoughts and research, as well as a sketchbook: 359 drawings in the margins and text adorn the codex.

Water, Moon Phases, and Fossils

The Codex Hammer gives an incomparable inside look into the genius of Leonardo da Vinci. The focus here lies in particular on Leonardo’s natural perception of nature, which is observable in the backgrounds of his paintings. The codex handles numerous aspects of cosmology, from geology to astronomy to meteorology. Alongside the depiction and description of a storm over Lago Maggiore and a few notes from Leonardo’s impressions of his sojourns in Tuscany and Lombardy, the element of water as an object of study plays a special role here. Fascinating depictions of currents and bodies of water in comparison with the flowing hair allow us to trace Leonardo’s exact observations.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Il Codice Hammer
Codex Leicester
Size / Format
72 pages / 29.0 x 22.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1508–1510
Language
Illustrations
350 marginal and textual illustrations
Artist / School
Previous Owners

2 available facsimile edition(s) of „Codex Hammer“

Il Codice Hammer
Codex Hammer – Bill Gates Collection (Seattle, USA)
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Il Codice Hammer

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Giunti Editore – Florence, 1987
Limited Edition
998 copies
Binding
Leather-covered box (size 335 x 488 mm) with gold tooling, containing the facsimile of the codex, the facsimile of a sheet with studies of figures (Hammer 20), and a volume of text (LX-222 pages), printed on handmade paper and bound in Fabriano paper.
Commentary
1 volume (282 pages) by Carlo Pedretti
Languages: English, Italian
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
Price Category: €€€€ (7,000€ - 10,000€)
Edition available
Price: Login here!
Codex Hammer
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Codex Hammer

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Collezione Apocrifa Da Vinci – Naples, 2013
Limited Edition
499 copies
Binding
Leahter binding
Commentary
-
More Information
Reproduction of the entire original document as detailed as possible (scope, format, colors). The binding may not correspond to the original or current document binding.
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