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Leonardo da Vinci's Codex Atlanticus
May 8, 2006 5:26 PM   Subscribe

Leonardo3, a design team in Milan, was given unprecedented access to the Codex Atlanticus [PDF], Leonardo da Vinci's closely guarded notebooks, in which he designed hundreds of machines he had hoped to build. The team transformed more than 100 drawings into 3-D graphic representations of his inventions. From these they built working models which are now displayed for the first time in the U.S., at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry.
posted by ericb (29 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Oh sweet.
posted by kbanas at 5:39 PM on May 8, 2006


Now this is badass.
posted by rollbiz at 5:41 PM on May 8, 2006


So much stuff. So much flying stuff.
posted by loquacious at 5:45 PM on May 8, 2006


It would have been nice if they had posted higher-resolution pictures. All the detail is lost. Great stuff nonetheless.
posted by Pontius Pilate at 5:46 PM on May 8, 2006


I saw this in Italy, I believe. It was super awesome. This PBS special is good too.
posted by blahblahblah at 5:48 PM on May 8, 2006


Outstanding. Thank you.
posted by Wolfdog at 5:56 PM on May 8, 2006


That's a great idea. I hope the display comes through my area, da Vinci's always been a hero of mine. I never realized how much of his work was devoted to war though.
posted by lekvar at 5:57 PM on May 8, 2006


"Da Vinci Tech" (The Inventions of Leonardo da Vinci) is set for rebroadcast on 'Modern Marvels' (The History Channel) on Thursday, May 18 at 10:00 p.m.
posted by ericb at 5:58 PM on May 8, 2006


why would anybody care about the cam shafted trip hammer over an anvil?

Cistercian monks combined those ideas in the 8th century with a water wheel to help make beer.

Is is just because they didn't have all the PR?
posted by Megafly at 6:10 PM on May 8, 2006


Oh, and in his spare time he painted the Last Supper and the Mona Lisa.
posted by R. Mutt at 6:23 PM on May 8, 2006


Chicago has this at MSI, and Tut at the Field.

Good time to visit.
posted by eriko at 6:38 PM on May 8, 2006


The english translation doesn't work, and I can't click on any image for a larger view?

Isn't that what the site is all about? Seeing the inventions!

Why such pissy little images? Pity, almost good
posted by mattoxic at 6:41 PM on May 8, 2006


I saw this in Italy, I believe. It was super awesome. This PBS special is good too.

Was this in Rome at the Piazza Del Popolo? I think I may have seen the exhibit, too.
posted by The White Hat at 6:42 PM on May 8, 2006


Quick question: Why do so many of his inventions center around war and city design? Were these topics that interested him or was he comissioned to think up 'crazy ideas'? It doesn't seem like someone who was a great artist would also be, willingly, as interested in war. Anyone who knows more about Da Vinci is welcome to chime in here.
posted by jeresig at 6:46 PM on May 8, 2006


Da Vinci war machines "designed to fail"
"Leonardo da Vinci inserted a series of deliberate flaws into his inventions, perhaps to prevent their being put to military use, according to researchers for a new television series.

Some of the Renaissance genius's most revolutionary designs, such as his military tank, glider and diving suit, included a simple but correctable fault that only became apparent when they were built, say the makers of a forthcoming BBC TV series, Leonardo.

Executive producer Michael Mosley said there could be two reasons for da Vinci's 'secretiveness'. First, there were no patent laws to protect him from having his designs copied. Second, and Mr Mosley believed more importantly, da Vinci was a pacifist who knew that his warlord masters might try to find military uses for his inventions."
posted by ericb at 6:54 PM on May 8, 2006


Other models of da Vinci's machines at the Museo Scienza in Milan.
posted by ericb at 6:58 PM on May 8, 2006


Was this in Rome at the Piazza Del Popolo? I think I may have seen the exhibit, too.

That was it, pretty cool, i can't tell whether it is the same thing or not.
posted by blahblahblah at 7:05 PM on May 8, 2006


mattoxic, you chose your screen name well. Wanker.
Thanks ericb, this is wonderful.
posted by peacay at 7:06 PM on May 8, 2006


Yes, this is indeed very cool.

ps I work here
posted by ninjew at 7:09 PM on May 8, 2006


The english translation doesn't work

It works for me.
posted by ericb at 7:27 PM on May 8, 2006


I drive myself crazy wondering what kind of world we would live in now if just a few inventions took hold earlier. Heron of Alexandria was a few steps away from inventing the steam engine around 100 CE, but it never came together.

The going theory is that a ready supply of slaves postponed the invention of labor-saving devices. Would we be better off or not today if the industrial revolution went off during the Iron Age?
posted by EatTheWeak at 7:54 PM on May 8, 2006


Must get to Chicago, must get to Chicago.

This is too cool and I will echo the wish for higher resolution images and maybe some videos of the models in action.
posted by fenriq at 9:33 PM on May 8, 2006


yes, I saw that (or part of that) exhibition in Venice recently in chiesa di San Stae(open till November 4). The only exhibit I had time to see, totally worth it. Seeing them in print and experiencing them in person is another thing. It is like a game to try to figure them out without reading the notes. Some of them were particularly serendipitous but all of them were very interesting. There were a couple I could not figure out and unfortunately there was no-one around to explain. So I will have to wait till it comes to NY.
posted by carmina at 10:32 PM on May 8, 2006


Chariot with Scythes.

God, that'd be messy.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:29 PM on May 8, 2006


... I never realized how much of his work was devoted to war though.
posted by lekvar at 5:57 PM PST on May 8 [!]


Most technological advancement happens during times of war
posted by beno at 6:01 AM on May 9, 2006


I drive myself crazy wondering what kind of world we would live in now if just a few inventions took hold earlier.

As long as you're willing to consider your question in the context of a video game you may want to try the demo of Rise of Nations which features a civilization called The Vinci, "a technological civilization with a steampunk based theme whose units and buildings are based on the works and designs of the 16th century Italian Renaissance inventor and artist, Leonardo Da Vinci." (via)

Frankly, the machines in the FPP look way cooler than the screenshots in the game. Just sayin'.
posted by illovich at 6:35 AM on May 9, 2006


They also have lots of models at the museum in Vinci. It's really the only thing they do have. Not much historical stuff on display. In fact, it's not that great a museum. The larger than life-size sculpture of Vitruvian Man is cool though.
posted by smackfu at 6:42 AM on May 9, 2006


That was awesome. I'm a little bit glad he's not around today or else the DOD would have snatched him up. Although ericb's comment does assuage this hypothetical fear.
posted by like_neon at 9:33 AM on May 9, 2006


Way cool. Among all the brilliantly complex inventions, I love #001, his zen simple self-supporting bridge.

Years ago, in the British Library I was fortunate enough to have a look at his actual notebooks. It's true they were in a glass box but it was a privilege to be near something he actually drew and wrote. It's wonderful his inventions are being made graphically 3D.
posted by nickyskye at 2:53 PM on May 9, 2006


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