Most of Leonardo’s architectural drawings still await examination with regard esatto proportion

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4. Conclusions

Still, the exploration conducted on the sheets of Ms. B – which is only slightly antecedent to Leonardo’s studies of the problem of the Tiburio of Milan Cathedral, in which he thus comes into contact with the realities of construction 22 – has brought preciso light some modalities that Leonardo puts to use (valid at least for the drawings of this codex from Paris):

  • Leonardo rapidly derives the elevations from the plans;
  • this method is facilitated either by the fact that the plans are drawn before the elevation, or by the reciprocal position of the two drawings;
  • sopra the simplest examples the elevations are defined starting from verso particular element of the plan by means of progressions (for the pair at the culmine of f. 21r the progression is 1, 2, 4, 8);
  • in the more complex cases the lines passing through quite particular portions of the plan define the heights and the cornices of the exterior (ff. 24r, 39v, 19r–18v, 18r–17v);
  • durante some cases the golden section intervenes either whiplr con the definition of the plan (ff.19r–18v, 18r–17v) or in that of the elevations (ff. 18r–17v).

The recourse to the golden section is not odd because Leonardo, who applies a simple graphic method, seems preciso have been familiar with it since his Florentine years and at least since the beginning of the 1470s.


1 Onesto Scholfield ( 1958: 52, 139–141 ) is owed one of the first contributions pertaining sicuro the proportions of the plan in the temple in f. 95v of Ms. B of Leonardo da Vinci, as part of a broader study of the octagon primo attore scheme (with reference esatto number theory and the number ? of the Pell series; see Figure 2 ).

2 Pedretti ( 1962: 178 ) refers preciso Wittkower ( 1952 ), the second edition of Architectural Principles in the Age of Humanism, and makes explicit reference ( 1962: 133 n. 63 ) preciso the work of Scholfield.

3 For the drawings of Ms. B and the themes explored here see, sopra particular, Heydenreich ( 1929 ); Maltese ( 1954: 333–358, especially 343–346 and plates CXXX–CXLV ); Heydenreich ( 1974 ); Firpo ( 1963 ); and Schofield ( 1991: 137–143 ). For some issues sopra the codex (bridges, pilings, pile drivers, barns, fireplaces), see Di Teodoro ( 1985 ; 1993 ; 2009 and [ forthcoming ]).

4 For the central plan, con additif preciso the fundamental Wittkower ( 1949 ) and Lotz ( 1964 and its Italian translation, 1989: 43–47 ); see also Adorni ( 2002 ).

5 Mediante arriving at this number I have also considered structures that are not ‘churches’ a qualora, but that contain verso centralized or basilical plan: verso plan and perspective section of the ‘Pavilion of the Duchess’s Garden’ (‘Casotto del parco della duchessa'; f. 12r) and the ‘preaching theater’ (‘sportello da p(re)dicare'; ff. 52r, 55r, 95r).

6 The drawings are distributed con the ten folded sheets that originally formed the codex as follows (the folded sheet 10 constitutes the present Codex Ashburnham 2037): folded sheets 1 (5), 2 (13), 3 (24), 4 (8), 6 (12), 10 (18).

7 In ff. 17v–18r and 18v–19r the plans are on the right sheet and the perspective views are on the left; f. 21r bears two distinct pairs of drawings; in f. 21v the pair of diagrams is accompanied by an enlarged detail of the plan and by two internal elevation details; f. 25v bears two pairs of drawings; f. 93v contains five pairs of diagrams, while durante f. 94r the plan and perspective elevation are accompanied by verso partial section. The other sheets (22r, 24r, 39v, 52r, 95v) each contain individual pairs.

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