Photographer's Note

Some of Leonardo's codice / notes are bound and stored in this Florence museum mainly on display here are old pharmaceutical apparatus as used by early chemists. A facinating insight into how science and medicine was carried out 1000 years ago in this medieval city.
WS has another closer view.

The history of the codices.
The vicissitudes of of Leonardo Da Vinci’s Codices are as intricate and complicated as the plot of a spy story, with personages contending the precious treasure in Europe and recently in America as well, and with scholars as committed to reconstructing their history as detectives hot on the trail of a geographically scattered terrain, possessing only a handful of documents to be compared and integrated with the innumeable folios already hard to decipher and jumbled in wild confusion by generations of different owners.

An example of Leonarno's writings among his many drawings/sketches etc.
Although Leonardo is a clear expositor of many sound principles, the immediacy and conviction of his ideas stem from their artistic and literary presentation, aspects of persuasion to which historians of science have in recent decades paid increasing attention. In the Codex Leicester (folio 34r), for example, Leonardo presents an evocative conception of the earth as organism:
So when we say that the earth has a spirit of growth, and that its flesh is the soil; its bones are the successive strata of the rocks which form the mountains; its cartilage is the tufa stone; its blood the veins of its waters. The lake of the blood that lies around the heart is the ocean. Its breathing is by the increase and decrease of the blood in its pulses, and even so in the earth is the ebb and flow of the sea. And the vital heat of the world is fire which is spread throughout the earth; and the dwelling place of its spirit of growth in the fires, which in divers parts of the earth are breathed out in baths and sulphur mines, and in Vulcanus and Mongibello in Sicily, and in many other places.

On the one hand Leonardo invokes a familiar metaphor of the human body, employing the classical analogy of microcosm and macrocosm. On the other, he evokes the vitality of earth processes, what some scientists after James Lovelock might term ‘geophysiology’. Like the Deluge Drawings vis-à-vis recent events, the Gaian imagery of Codex Leicester can be appreciated, as current scientific techniques provide evidence that the earth is possessed of connections and feedback cycles of great complexity and sensitivity.

Quoted in The Codex Hammer of Leonardo da Vinci translated into English and edited by Carlo Pedretti (Florence: Giunti Barbera), 1987, p. 26.

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Additional Photos by Murray Lines (MLINES) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2255 W: 203 N: 2719] (12516)
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