Leonardo da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds

September 13, 2013 – October 22, 2013

National Air and Space Museum
Independence Avenue and 6th Street, SW
Washington, DC

The Wright Brothers & The Invention of the Aerial Age, Gallery 209, 2nd Floor, East Wing Floor Plan

Leonardo da Vinci was fascinated with flight and made observations of birds to try to discover how humans could fly. His Codex on the Flight of Birds contains 18 pen and brown-ink folios that offer insight into the mind of the creative genius. The Codex was created ca. 1505-1506 and explores bird flight and behavior, followed by sketches and descriptions of mechanical devices and principles of physics not discovered until centuries later. One of the most amazing drawings in the document is a flying machine similar to a modern-day helicopter. The Codex is on view open to a single folio; 4 interactive computer stations nearby offer a view of each page with side-by-side English translation.

On loan from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin, Italy

No photography permitted

See a video with the curator here; a short version is on view in the gallery

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