This is the information page for the exhibition of works by Leonardo da Vinci in Milan entitled 'Codice Atlantico', with details of what's on show, where it's on show and how the exhibition is organised. If you're ready to reserve tickets, then go to this page.
'Codice Atlantico' - the Atlantic Code. A Dan Brown prequel? No - the more prosaic truth is that 'Codice' does not, here, translate as 'code', but rather 'codex', as in a bound book, the stage after scrolls, and 'Atlantico' alludes to the sheer size of the book - 'atlas-like'. But this is seriously under-selling this exhibition; this is not a 'book on public display', but a 'rolling selection' from a collection of over 1000 works by Leonardo da Vinci. Yet another compelling reason to visit Milan, over and above trying to get in and view the Last Supper. Read on below for further details.
The Codice Atlantico is the largest collection of works by Leonardo in the world, and this exhibiton is the first time ever that they have been on show. In the 16th century, the sculptor Pompeo Leoni made it his mission to collect more than 1700 documents (writings and illustrations) by da Vinci and to present them in one enormous book. In 1637 this volume was gifted to the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, together with other manuscripts pertaining to da Vinci. Napoleon had away with them to Paris, eventually to return to Milan, locked away in 12 distinct volumes.
These volumes went on to be taken apart and preserved under laboratory conditions, and in late 2009 the results finally went on show in two prestigious Milan locations: the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana (Ambrosiana Gallery/Library) and the Sacrestia Monumentale del Bramante, the Sacristry at the Church of Santa Maria delle Grazie, home to Leonardo's Last Supper. Click here to view a location map.
To be clear, you will not be viewing the entire collection - what you will be seeing is a selection of works, perfectly displayed in the two venues, a selection that will vary every three months.
The works span all of da Vinci's intellectual life, covering more than 40 years (1478 to 1519). The breadth of his vision is quite literally awe inspiring; here there are contributions to mechanics, mathematics, astronomy, botanics, geography, physics, chemistry and architecture. There are designs for fantastic machines - weapons, deep-sea vehicles and flying machines - side by side with philosophical meditations and studies in painting, sculpture and perspective.
A couple of points to bear in mind. The Bramante Sacristry has limited space, and for this reason your visit here will be limited to a maximum of thirty minutes. Note also that your ticket to the Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, the second of the two venues, gives access to the rest of the gallery there. Indeed, for the duration of the exhibition, in the room that is home to some frescoes by Luini (one of Leonardo's circle), you can see a famous work by da Vinci - 'il Musico', as well as other works from Leonardo's circle and a representation of the Last Supper.