Codex Trivulzianus

Alternate Titles:

Il Codice Trivulziano

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Alternate Titles

Il Codice Trivulziano

Extent / Format

110 pages / 20.5 x 14.0 cm

Artist / School

Leonardo da Vinci

Short description

In the so-called Codex Trivulzianus, Leonardo da Vinci, the famous artists and universal genius of the Italian Renaissance, is made tangible in all his diversity. In the compendium of Leonardo’s written legacy, his intensive work with the Italian language and his architectural visions are recorded inter alia. Additionally, the codex contains a series of entertaining caricatures. Originating from the year 1487-1490, the Codex Trivulzianus is one of Leonardo’s oldest known manuscripts.

Facsimile editions available


Codex Trivulzianus

Human physiognomy fascinated Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) throughout all of his work. Nonetheless, the famous universal genius not only concerned himself with it scientifically – such as in the famous studies of proportion – but could also take pleasure in the theme’s most entertaining aspects. In the Codex Trivulzianus at hand, one finds a complete series of these humorous caricatures, a series of imaginary portraits.

One of the Oldest Surviving Leonardo Manuscripts

The so-called Codex Trivulzianus is named after its modern repository, the Biblioteca Trivulziana del Castello Sforzesco in Milan. This codex takes a special place among the numerous artifacts of Leonardo da Vinci’s written legacy, it is one of the oldest known manuscripts from Leonardo da Vinci’s written estate, originating from the years 1487-1490. The aim of the National Edition of the Manuscripts and Drawings of Leonardo da Vinci, to which the Codex Trivulzianus belongs, was to make these treasures available to a broad public.

Architecture, Engineering, and Linguistics

Alongside the caricatures already mentioned, the Codex Trivulzianus contains inter alia architectural studies and designs – above all on the occasion of a competition for the completion of the Milan Cathedral and for military architecture – and records of mechanical and physical experiments. The codex is additionally interesting as a linguistic treasure trove. Leonardo concentrated on the Italian language and its scientific and philosophical expressions. The terms predominantly originated from Latin and Leonardo relied thereby on popular works such as the writings of Roberto Valturius and Luigi Pulcis.

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