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Madrid Codices (Vol. I)

  • Madrid codices (Vol. I) © Biblioteca Nacional de España

    Madrid codices (Vol. I) © Biblioteca Nacional de España





1491 - 1505


Leonardo da Vinci

Cultural background


Original title

Codices Madrid (Vol. I)
Spanish National Library

This is the only work in Spain that has been attributed unequivocally to Leonardo da Vinci. It has great documentary and artistic value. This is the first volume of the work.

The Madrid Codices I and II, in Leonardo's distinctive backward or “mirror” writing, are key works in the National Library’s manuscript collection. These are two paper notebooks containing different contents and from different periods, although with the same size, type of binding and provenance. Both codices, dated between 1491 and 1505, contain an astounding number of drawings and ink sketches.

This codex contains the better and most forceful drawings of the two. They are drawn in black ink, with some gouache shading to emphasise volume. These drawings are very detailed designs for various mechanisms and devices.

Details of the work



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