The interactive Codex Atlanticus - digital working models of Leonardo Da Vinci's inventions
By Mike Hanlon
September 4, 2006
September 5, 2006 The term “renaissance man” implies an extraordinary breadth of expertise and capability and no person epitomises the well-rounded concept than painter, inventor, sculptor, architect, anatomist, engineer, geometer and musician Leonardo da Vinci. That he was a master of several of these disciplines and hundreds of years ahead of his time in some makes him without equal. All of which makes this announcement incredibly exciting as there’s now a compelling new way to engage with Leonardo’s remarkable work, at least in the area of invention. Innovative Italian media company Leonardo3 has created a digital version of the Codex Atlanticus – an interactive book containing more than 100 of Da Vinci’s most fascinating manuscript pages.
The pages can be “turned” and it’s possible to zoom in on Leonardo’s sketches, and the inventor’s secret messages and notes, many of which can’t be deciphered with the naked eye. For example, zooming in on Leonardo’s design for a military fortress shows his secret plan for a subterranean tunnel that allowed for escape if the fortress walls were breached. Enigmatic notes and sketches can also be discovered by “flipping” the pages over and looking at them from the back.
More than 50 3-D machine models spring from the images on the pages as well, allowing the viewer to interact with the machines and understand how the designs work. Guests can view Leonardo’s design for a naval cannon from all sides and actually fire this artillery, seeing how its opposing cannons were designed to absorb the force of firing and keep the boat on course. Ideal as a gift for the gifted and special people in your life, the price is as remarkable as the contents – you can buy it on-line for just UER25.90 (US$33).
Leonardo3 is an active business and academic enterprise whose mission is to study, interpret and make da Vinci’s artistic and scientific heritage available and enjoyable to the general public through the use of innovative techniques. It places particular importance on three-dimensional (3D) reconstructions, hence the 3 in the name.
Its research laboratory has staff, scholars, scientists and engineers who continue to study the mysteries of Da Vinci’s works and produce new exhibitions for temporary and permanent shows. There are ongoing working projects for digital and physical machines (from the designs of the Master), publications, books, software, etc.
All these activities have the goal to lead to the creation of a Leonardo3 (L3) Museum/Edutainment Center of 230,000 square feet in Milan, Italy. There are also advanced plans to create and develop an L3 Museum in Chicago and an L3 Edutainment Centers in New York and Japan.
The Leonardo3 web portal, the exhibitions and publications are the result of research activities and work carried out by L3’s founding partners, Mario Taddei and Edoardo Zanon.