Rare Visit of the DaVinci Codex on the Flight of Birds

Codex

Page 14 of the Codex, with sketches and backwards mirror script 

September 13, 2013

For five weeks, one of the world’s great treasures of flight was displayed at the National Air and Space Museum. From Sept. 13 to Oct. 22, Leonardo da Vinci’s ca. 1505 Codex on the Flight of Birds was exhibited in a special case near Orville and Wilbur Wright’s 1903 Flyer in the museum’s early-flight gallery. In the work, da Vinci explores bird flight and behavior, with sketches and descriptions of devices and aerodynamic principles related to mechanical flight. Some foreshadowed the invention of the airplane four centuries later. Consisting of 18 folios (2-sided pages), the Codex was a personal notebook. Interactive stations allowed visitors to leaf through a virtual version of the Codex. The document was loaned by the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, Italy, which owns a number of works by da Vinci.

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