Part 3 - Da Vinci’s Manuscript - 1994
Read time 4-5 mins
The next auction to enter our series is a manuscript from the legendary Leonardo da Vinci.
Man of Many Talents
Not many people can say they were a painter, sculptor, architect and engineer during their lifetime.
Some of Da Vinci’s most famous works were:
- Mona Lisa.
- The Last Supper.
- The recently sold Salvator Mundi.
Trivia - He never finished The Mona Lisa.
Da Vinci's Manuscripts
Da Vinci was quite a studious character. He frequently wrote down his thoughts as he tried to unravel the mysteries of the world and also whatever piqued his interests. These thoughts, drawings and notes were spread among countless sheets of paper of which 7,000 have survived.
Many of these pages were written in 1508 and also from different parts of his career. Some of the questions and thoughts were so ahead of their time that we still speak of them today. For example, the City of the Future, Flying Machine, The Armoured Tank and more.
Trivia - The ability to fly was only achieved 400 years after Da Vinci's conceived Flying Machine idea which is a testament to how much of a forward thinker Da Vinci was.
Da Vinci's Codex
Da Vinci did organise his thoughts and ideas and turned them into notebooks that were called a codex. A codex would be a compilation of different papers of size and length. One of his most famous manuscripts is the Codex Leicester, named after Thomas Coke who was an Earl of Leicester.
What you can expect to find in the Codex Leicester are observations and theories about the movement of water and the relationship between the Earth, Sun and Moon. For examples, the luminosity of the moon.
200-Year Journey to Auction
The codex passed hands over the next 200 years before it was bought by Armand Hammer who had the journal compiled to its original form and each page translated into English as the manuscript was written in Italian. This process took 7 years and required the work of a Leonardo da Vinci Scholar, Dr. Carlo Pedretti.
The Codex was eventually auctioned by the estate of Armand Hammer by Christie’s in 1994. The winning bid was by Bill Gates who has since digitalised the Codex and made it available online. The codex is also shown around the world once a year.
The work of Leonardo da Vinci will live on to challenge the thinkers of generations to come. Now that it has been translated and digitalised, it’s safe to say that his work will live on forever (even though it’s already 500 years old).
Food for thought.