Codex Atlanticus

Codex Atlanticus

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The Codex Atlanticus (Atlantic Codex) is a twelve-volume, bound set of drawings and writings by Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

, the largest such set; its name indicates its atlas-like breadth. It comprises 1,119 leaves dating from 1478 to 1519, the contents covering a great variety of subjects, from flight
Flight
Flight is the process by which an object moves either through an atmosphere or beyond it by generating lift or propulsive thrust, or aerostatically using buoyancy, or by simple ballistic movement....

 to weaponry to musical instruments
Viola organista
The viola organista was an experimental musical instrument invented by Leonardo da Vinci. It was the first bowed keyboard instrument ever to be devised.-Description:...

 and from mathematics
Mathematics
Mathematics is the study of quantity, space, structure, and change. Mathematicians seek out patterns and formulate new conjectures. Mathematicians resolve the truth or falsity of conjectures by mathematical proofs, which are arguments sufficient to convince other mathematicians of their validity...

 to botany
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

. This codex
Codex
A codex is a book in the format used for modern books, with multiple quires or gatherings typically bound together and given a cover.Developed by the Romans from wooden writing tablets, its gradual replacement...

 was gathered by the sculptor Pompeo Leoni, son of Leone Leoni
Leone Leoni
Leone Leoni was an Italian sculptor of international outlook who travelled in Italy, Germany, Austria, France, the Spanish Netherlands and Spain. Leoni is regarded as the finest of the Cinquecento medallists. He made his reputation in commissions he received from the Habsburg monarchs Charles V,...

, in the late 16th century, although Leoni dismembered some Leonardo
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance...

 notebooks in its formation. It is currently preserved at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana
Biblioteca Ambrosiana
The Biblioteca Ambrosiana is a historic library in Milan, Italy, also housing the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the Ambrosian art gallery. Named after Ambrose, the patron saint of Milan, it was founded by Cardinal Federico Borromeo , whose agents scoured Western Europe and even Greece and Syria for books...

 in Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

.

Conservation history


The codex was restored and rebound by the Basilian monk
Basilian monk
Basilian monks are monks who follow the "Rule" of Saint Basil the Great, bishop of Caesarea. The chief importance of the monastic rules and institutes of St. Basil lies in the fact that to this day his reconstruction of the monastic life is the basis of most of the monasticism practiced in the...

s working in the Laboratory for the Restoration of Ancient Books and Manuscripts of the Exarchic Greek Abbey of St. Mary of Grottaferrata
Grottaferrata
Grottaferrata, Italy is a small town and comune in the province of Rome, situated on the lower slopes of the Alban Hills, 20 km south east of Rome. It is bounded by other communes, Frascati, Rocca di Papa, Marino, and Rome.-History:...

 from 1968 to 1972.

In April 2006, Carmen Bambach of the Metropolitan Museum of Art
Metropolitan Museum of Art
The Metropolitan Museum of Art is a renowned art museum in New York City. Its permanent collection contains more than two million works, divided into nineteen curatorial departments. The main building, located on the eastern edge of Central Park along Manhattan's Museum Mile, is one of the...

 in New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

 discovered an extensive invasion of mold
Mold
Molds are fungi that grow in the form of multicellular filaments called hyphae. Molds are not considered to be microbes but microscopic fungi that grow as single cells called yeasts...

s of various colors, including black, red, and purple, along with swelling of pages. Monsignor Gianfranco Ravasi
Gianfranco Ravasi
Gianfranco Ravasi is an Italian prelate, a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He currently serves in the Roman Curia as President of the Pontifical Council for Culture. On 20 November 2010 Ravasi was created cardinal by Pope Benedict XVI.-Early life:The eldest of three children, Gianfranco...

, then the head of the Ambrosian Library, now head of the Pontifical Council for Culture
Pontifical Council for Culture
The Pontifical Council for Culture is a department of the Roman Curia charged with fostering the relationship of the Catholic Church with different cultures. Pope John Paul II founded it on 20 May 1982...

 at the Vatican
Holy See
The Holy See is the episcopal jurisdiction of the Catholic Church in Rome, in which its Bishop is commonly known as the Pope. It is the preeminent episcopal see of the Catholic Church, forming the central government of the Church. As such, diplomatically, and in other spheres the Holy See acts and...

, alerted the Italian conservation institute, the Opificio delle Pietre Dure
Opificio delle pietre dure
The Opificio delle Pietre Dure e Laboratori di Restauro, literally meaning Workshop of Semi-precious Stones and Laboratories of Restoration, is a public institute of the Italian Ministry for Cultural Heritage based in Florence...

, in Florence
Florence
Florence is the capital city of the Italian region of Tuscany and of the province of Florence. It is the most populous city in Tuscany, with approximately 370,000 inhabitants, expanding to over 1.5 million in the metropolitan area....

. In October 2008, it was determined that the colors found on the pages weren't the product of mold, but instead caused by mercury salts added to protect the Codex from mold. Moreover, the staining appears to be not on the codex but on later cartonage.