Leonardo da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds

September 13, 2013 | 10:00am - 5:30pm
Museum in Washington, DC

One of Italy’s greatest treasures, Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex on the Flight of Birds, will be exhibited in the Museum in Washington, DC for 40 days, from Sept. 13 until Oct. 22. The extraordinary document, created ca. 1505, shows da Vinci’s interest in human flight by exploring bird flight and behavior. It includes sketches and descriptions of devices and aerodynamic principles related to mechanical flight that predate the invention of the airplane by 400 years.

The Codex, an early form of a personal notebook, will be on view in a specially designed and secured case located in The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age, an exhibition whose centerpiece is Orville and Wilbur Wright’s 1903 Flyer, the world’s first successful powered aircraft. Nearby interactive stations will allow visitors to virtually leaf through the 18 folios (two-sided pages) of the Codex. The document will be loaned to the museum by the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, Italy, which owns a number of works by da Vinci. The 16th-century genius is known primarily as an artist and sculptor, but he is also renowned for his skills in architecture, music, mathematics, poetry, engineering, anatomy and botany.

This exhibit is organized by the museum and the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Italian Cultural Heritage and Activities, the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., the Biblioteca Reale in Turin, and thanks to the support of the Bracco Foundation and corporations Finmeccanica and Tenaris. It is part of “2013—Year of Italian Culture in the U.S.,” an initiative held under the auspices of the President of the Italian Republic, organized by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the Embassy of Italy in Washington, D.C., with the support of Corporate Ambassadors, Eni, and Intesa Sanpaolo.

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