Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was an Italian Renaissance architect, musician, inventor, engineer, sculptor, and painter. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. The V&A has five of Leonardo's notebooks in its collections. Known as the Forster Codices, the notebooks were owned by John Forster and bequeathed by him to the V&A in 1876.
Leonardo da Vinci's Notebooks
Leonardo da Vinci seems to have begun recording his thoughts in notebooks from the mid-1480s. The notebooks were included in Leonardo's bequest to his assistant Francesco Melzi , before becoming separated and bought and sold by various collectors over the centuries.
Leonardo da Vinci: Animated Illustration
This animation from the Forster codices shows how Leonardo da Vinci composed illustrations of a dodecahedron: a solid composed of twelve pentagons – in other words, twelve identical, five-sided faces. He split it into segments in order to calculate its volume, sliced off its corners and built pyramids on the resulting faces.