Da Vinci's look into the future: the illustrated observations of a genius concerning physics and the anatomy of flight

Codex on the flight of birds

Italy — 1505–1506

Codex on the flight of birds

Codex on the flight of birds

Italy — 1505–1506

  1. Leonardo da Vinci's (1452–1519) personal notebook of his observations and research concerning the flight of birds

  2. Physical, anatomical, and other considerations are accompanied by many of his masterful drawings

  3. Da Vinci's studies explore gravity and the influence of weight taking wind, movement, and anatomy

Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli

Codex on the flight of birds

Diagram of a Mechanical Arm

Complete with notes from Leonardo da Vinci’s own hand, which he wrote in mirror-writing like all his notebooks, this is a detailed depiction of a mechanical arm, presumably used for flapping the wing of a flying machine. Two pulleys are shown suspended above the main arm and attached to a cross-member, which in turn powers the wing’s movements. It is obvious from its curved shape and the placement of the joints that this mechanical arm is modelled on the skeletal structure of a bird’s wing.

Codex on the flight of birds

Alternative Titles:
  • Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli
  • Codex über den Vogelflug
  • Codex über den Flug der Vögel
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
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  1. Short Description
  2. Codicology

Short Description

Leonardo da Vinci the gifted natural scientist is brought back to like in this special artifact: his personal notebook with observations and research into the flight of birds, the famous Codice sul volo degli uccelli. Originating from the years 1505–6, Leonardo’s notebook presents a detailed work on the phenomenon of the flight of birds under physical, anatomical, and other considerations, accompanied by many of his masterful drawings. A true gem of Leonardo research!

Codex on the Flight of Birds

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) is considered to be the most important universal genius of the Italian Renaissance. He busied himself not only with the visual arts, but was also especially passionate about researching natural phenomena. This passion has been transmitted to today in numerous written and graphical pieces of evidence. A particularly interesting and beautiful example thereof is a notebook, which is stored today in the Biblioteca Reale in Turin: the famous Codex on the Flight of Birds.

Research into one of Mankind’s Dreams

To this day, it is one of mankind’s dreams to simply spread one’s wings and float weightlessly through the air like a bird. One of the first people to concern himself with the actual fulfilment of this dream in reality was Leonardo da Vinci. For him it was no reverie, but rather an interplay of physics, weather phenomena, and anatomy that had to be explored. He recorded his observations and thoughts regarding this research in the year 1505–6 in a notebook about the flight of birds.

The Flight of Birds in Drawings and Writings

Leonardo observed the flight paths of birds and thus followed his studies of gravity and the influence of weight taking wind, movement, and anatomy into account. These statements are accompanied by numerous drawings, which record Leonardo’s observations and conclusions in complicated schematic representations. Leonardo pursued plans for a flying machine with moveable “wings” that was supposed to be based on the operating principles of the flight of birds. His studies of this theme were studied in turn by aviation pioneers like Otto Lilienthal and the Wright Brothers. This research into the flight of birds was appended with notes about the mechanics, botany, architectural plans, and water studies for the gardens of Charles d’Amboise’s villa.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli
Codex über den Vogelflug
Codex über den Flug der Vögel
Size / Format
34 pages / 21.3 x 15.4 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1505–1506
Language
Artist / School
Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli

Codex on the Flight of Birds

Instructions for Operating a Flying Machine

Folio 8r has 6 diagrams of birds in flight, which are used to illustrated what to do in various scenarios while flying. As with his other notebooks, the left-handed Leonardo used mirror-image cursive (written entirely backwards and from right to left), various symbols, and shorthand for the text, which has individual paragraphs for each respective drawing.

Each of these simple yet clear images shows a bird maneuvering in flight with lines indicating whether it is dealing with a tailwind or a headwind. They are used to model various situations one might encounter while operating a flying machine. Each scenario is described in the passage to the left of its respective drawing and provided with a solution.

1 available facsimile edition(s) of „Codex on the flight of birds“

Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
Codex on the flight of birds  – Biblioteca Reale di Torino (Turin, Italy)
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Il Codice sul volo degli uccelli

1 volume: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size)
Publisher
Collezione Apocrifa Da Vinci – Ottaviano, 2013
Limited Edition
499 copies
Binding
Parchment binding in leather map
Commentary
Language: 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: €€ (1,000€ - 3,000€)
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