Madrid Codices

Madrid Codices

Italy — 1490–1505

Discovered only coincidentally by an American in the Biblioteca Nacional in 1967: two bound volumes of Leonardo da Vinci's sketches on a variety of subjects

  1. Two-volume collection (Madrid Codices I–II) of notes, sketches, and drawings by Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

  2. Painting, geography, mechanics, mathematics, geometry, weapons, and architecture are depicted therein

  3. The American Professor of Romance Studies, Jules Piccus, coincidentally discovered them in February of 1967

Madrid Codices

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  1. Description
  2. Facsimile Editions (4)
Description
Madrid Codices

The Madrid Codices are a two-volume collection of pages, notes, sketches, and drawings by the Italian Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci. The works originated between 1490 and 1505. The precious manuscripts show some sketches and designs, which significantly influenced the architecture and technology of our time.

Madrid Codices

“Read me, reader, if it pleases you, for I rarely return to this world.” With this sentence ends the first volume of the so-called Madrid Codices by Leonardo da Vinci. The greatest artist and scholar of the Renaissance composed two codices, which treated the entire spectrum of his interests. The manuscripts concerned themselves with painting, geography, mechanics, mathematics, geometry, weapons technology, and architecture. The first volume of the manuscript contains 384 pages and the second 316 pages. The pages show a number of notes, sketches, and drawings by the great Renaissance artist.

A Treasure of the Spanish National Library

Both manuscripts by Da Vinci get their name from the location where they are housed today. After Da Vinci’s death, his student Francesco Melzi inherited the valuable document. This he in turn left to his son Orazio, who sold it to the wealthy sculptor Pompeo Leoni ca. 1590. The path of the volumes into the possession of the Biblioteca Nacional in Madrid is still unclear. Although it was known since the 19th century that the codices were in Madrid, they remained undiscoverable until the end of the 1960’s. The American Professor of Romance Studies, Jules Piccus, uncovered both of the precious manuscripts by a lucky coincidence while conducting literary research in the Spanish National Library in February of 1967.

A Glimpse into the Conceptual World of Da Vinci

The first Madrid Codex is dated in the time period from 1490–99, the second from ca. 1503-05. Leonardo composed the text in his characteristic mirror writing and was furnished with numerous depictions and sketches. Found among these is also the design of the bridge for the crossing of the Golden Horn, a bay at the Bosporus in Turkey. In the Norwegian locality of Ås, the Leonardo-Da-Vinci-Bridge was erected in the year 2001 as a footbridge. Another drawing shows the draft of a gearbox. The engineer and Da Vinci expert Roberto Guatelli presumes that is a detailed design of a counting mechanism. Therefore, it is probably dealing with the first calculator in world history.

Codicology

Alternative Titles
I Codici di Madrid
Manuscritos Leonardo da Vinci - Codex Madrid
Códex Madrid
Codex Madrid I (Ms. 8937) “Tratado de estática y mecánica”
Codex Madrid II (Ms. 8936) “Tratado de fortificación, estática y geometría”
Madrider Codizes
Size / Format
2 volumes: Code× Madrid I: 384 pages Code× Madrid II: 316 pages / 21.0 × 15.0 cm
Origin
Italy
Date
1490–1505
Language
Content
Volume I: Principles of mechanics and its fields of application
Volume II: Urban planning tasks such as fortifications and sewer systems
Artist / School

Available facsimile editions:
Madrid Codices – 8936 and 8937 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Giunti Editore – Florence, 1974
Limited Edition: 1000 copies

Manuscritos 8936 (Códex Madrid II) y 8937 (Códex Madrid I)
Egeria, S.L. – Madrid, 2009
Limited Edition: 2990 copies

I Codici di Madrid
Limited Edition: 1000 copies
Facsimile Editions

#1 I Codici di Madrid

Giunti Editore – Florence, 1974
Madrid Codices – 8936 and 8937 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain)
Madrid Codices – 8936 and 8937 – Biblioteca Nacional de España (Madrid, Spain) Copyright Photos: Ziereis Facsimiles

Publisher: Giunti Editore – Florence, 1974
Limited Edition: 1000 copies
Binding: Hand-bound in red leather with gold tooling. Comes in leather-covered slipcase (168 x 254 x 218 mm).
Commentary: 3 volumes by Ladislao Reti
Language: Italian
2 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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!

#3 Manuscritos 8936 (Códex Madrid II) y 8937 (Códex Madrid I)

Egeria, S.L. – Madrid, 2009

Publisher: Egeria, S.L. – Madrid, 2009
Limited Edition: 2990 copies
Binding: Brown leather with gold tooling
2 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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.
Copy available – Ask for a quote!
Copy available – Ask for a quote!

#4 I Codici di Madrid

Limited Edition: 1000 copies
Binding: Handbound in red leather with gold tooling. A leather-covered slipcase with gold tooling on the spine houses all five volumes.
Commentary: 3 volumes by Ladislao Reti
Language: Italian
2 volumes: Exact reproduction of the original document (extent, color and size) 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. Pages presented on a larger white background.
Copy available – Ask for a quote!
Copy available – Ask for a quote!
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