Leonardo da Vinci was also a military engineer: an exhibition in Bologna delves into this aspect

From Oct. 10, 2019 to Jan. 7, 2020, the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna is hosting the exhibition 'Genius at War in the Age of Leonardo, Michelangelo, Dürer.

On the occasion of the 500th anniversary of the death of Leonardo da Vinci ( Vinci, 1452 - Amboise, 1519), the Polo Museale dell’Emilia Romagna is organizing, at the Pinacoteca Nazionale in Bologna, the exhibition Il Genio in guerra nell’età of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Dürer dedicated to the skills of the Vincian master as a military engineer in the defensive planning of cities and the methods of attack by means of artillery.

The exhibition, scheduled from Oct. 10, 2019 to Jan. 7, 2020, aims to focus on one of the least investigated aspects of Leonardo’s engineering activity: an expert in hydraulics as well as in “machine engineering,” he often had interests with military implications (think of special bombards or extravagances such as falcate chariots or inastic weapons against cavalry).

In his intense artistic production, Leonardo was also concerned with various architectural aspects, including those related to the defenses of cities and their consequent town planning, as well as the actual definition of bastions, ravelins, and other preparations related to the conformation of fortresses.

To date, only one monographic study has addressed the issue with attention to the theoretical, rather than practical, solutions found in contemporaries such as Filarete, the Sangallo and Francesco di Giorgio Martini; in only one case, in Emilia Romagna, has the issue been discussed, which was of importance for the area, given that the Vincian worked there in the service of the Valentino(Cesare Borgia) for some time.

Recent studies have brought to light how the master prepared some entirely original solutions that can be found in the area and that a few years later were applied, for that matter, by the Order of Malta in the East. The opportunity to take note of these extraordinary inventions, through original materials, may prompt research to develop in this still little-practiced area.

Alongside plans and maps proposing population centers, a number of maps with details of fortifications, defensive and offensive apparatuses, both executed by Leonardo’s hand and those of his contemporaries, will be exhibited to highlight his and the most relevant multifaceted geniuses’ innovative capacity in the period of the so-called Italian Wars that saw the presence of the Imperials as well as the French in the peninsula.

This will be an opportunity to emphasize a conceptual and technological debt that Michelangelo and Dürer marked with early Renaissance engineers on par with Leonardo.

It will be a journey of discovery of the experiments conducted on fortified structures from 1470 to 1530 and the innovative capacity of the engineers of the time that visitors will be able to follow thanks to the prestigious loans of originals from the libraries of Windsor, Milan, Florence, and from Emilian state collections.

For all information you can visit www.polomusealeemiliaromagna.beniculturali.it, and for the National Celebration Committee you can visit www.leonardocinquecento.it.

Pictured: Leonardo da Vinci, Studies of a circular fortress with central tower (c. 1502-1503) - Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Codex Atlanticus, c. 133r

Leonardo da Vinci was also a military engineer: an exhibition in Bologna delves into this aspect
Leonardo da Vinci was also a military engineer: an exhibition in Bologna delves into this aspect

Warning: the translation into English of the original Italian article was created using automatic tools. We undertake to review all articles, but we do not guarantee the total absence of inaccuracies in the translation due to the program. You can find the original by clicking on the ITA button. If you find any mistake,please contact us.