Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks

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In the era of instant access, libraries, museums and universities are racing to scan rare manuscripts and artifacts in their collections and make them available online. Examples can be found on The British Library, The Library of Congress and The World Digital Library.

The British Library began a massive digitalization project in 2005 with Microsoft, and plans to scan 25 million book pages, including some of Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks.

A collection of loose papers and notes, these 28 pages outline da Vinci’s fascination with mechanics, bird flight and studies on reflections and curved mirrors. The Italian script is written in da Vinci’s typical left-to-right “mirror” writing.


See the notebook here.

4 thoughts on “Leonardo da Vinci’s Notebooks

  1. Absolutely fascinating, thank you for this! I am always curious about how people, especially scientists and creative people, use their notebooks. A couple of months ago I was able to see the Darwin exhibit at the London Natural History Museum (which was amazing), and loved seeing his notebooks on display. I loved seeing his handwriting, his words on the page, and even what size and style of book he had chosen. He used reporter-style notebooks with blank pages, which he turned sideways to write across the page at its widest. His handwriting was kind of long and low, so this shape of book suited his handwriting well. Then when he needed to do a sketch or diagram he turned the book upright. Great minds getting their ideas down on paper, which is then preserved for hundreds of years, allowing us a glimpse into their genius. Fascinating!

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