Folio Archives 317: The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. 2009

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Folio Archives 317: The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. 2009

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 1, 8:41 pm

The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Three volume set. 2009

Published on the 500th. anniversary of da Vinci’s death, this beautiful three volume set features the 1938 Edward MacCurdy compilation of Leonardo da Vinci’s woks. It comprises the translated text of da Vinci’s notebooks along with 102 of his colour drawings.

Da Vinci was a self-taught genius who realised that the Earth revolved around the Sun a century before Galileo reached the same conclusion. He also realised that blood circulated around the body and understood the theory of gravity. He also realised the effect of time on nature and is quoted as saying “ the water wears away the mountain and fills up the valleys, and if it had the time, would reduce the Earth to a perfect sphere”. He really was a true, and possibly the first, polymath.

The three volumes are arranged by topic rather than chronology and have 23 sections that vary from philosophy and fables to anatomy, geology and hydraulics.

There are additional translated sections by Ladislao Reti and a five page introduction by Charles Nicholl, as well as a contemporary introductory note from the diary of Antonio de Beatis. There is an extensive index and bibliography at the back of Volume Three.

The books are quarter bound in green leather with light brown cloth sides printed in dark brown with some of da Vinci’s drawings. There are 1432 pages across the three volumes. Interestingly the first printing appears to have had ribbon page markers and gilded page tops, while the second printing in the same year (mine is one of these) did not. The endpapers are a plain dark greenish-grey. The 25x17.8x13.9cm. green cloth slipcase has a self-portrait by da Vinci printed on the front in the same style as the book covers.

These are delightful volumes to peruse at irregular intervals in order to perceive some of the author’s genius.

This set was reissued in 2019 quarter bound in dark blue bonded leather and with a dark blue slipcase blocked in gilt with da Vinci's image. Otherwise identical to the 2009 edition reviewed here.

The Folio Society also published a single volume copiously illustrated book about Leonardo da Vinci in 2005 as the presentation volume for 2006. This book was reviewed in Folio Archives here.

2005 Edition

2009 Edition

An index of the other illustrated reviews in the "Folio Archives" series can be viewed here.

huhtikuu 6, 9:11 am

Awesome set. I'm a bit ashamed for not purchasing it to date. The fella could really doodle, and if you want to see talent on display, look at the hands he sketched! Da Vinci is proof that curiosity is so vital to human existence.

huhtikuu 6, 12:06 pm

>2 CobbsGhost: ...look at the hands he sketched! Da Vinci is proof that curiosity is so vital to human existence.

This section on Wikipedia should give some insight into his technique:

Two quotes from the master...

"The painter who draws merely by practice and by eye, without any reason, is like a mirror which copies everything placed in front of it without being conscious of their existence."

“Art is never finished, only abandoned.”