[Le Studium Conferences] Leonardo Teacher (Maestro Leonardo)

Date : Du 26/05/2023 au 27/05/2023
Lieu : Amboise, Château du Clos Lucé - Parc Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci’s texts often embrace the style of the recipe literature typical of the craftsmen of his time. “You will observe this, you will do that…”. This form is found in his notes in many areas covered: in the treatise on painting, in the anatomical sheets, in the pages on mathematics, mechanics, alchemy, architecture or botany. Leonard addresses himself or a real or fictitious interlocutor. In spite of this maieutic form, it is really difficult to decide whether or not Leonard was really trying to «make school». In the field of painting, where he explains, for example, how to represent “a man walking in the wind”, we know that he has formed a team of “Leonardeschi”, apprentices who have taken so much from the master that one recognizes his style at first glance. In other fields, the case is more complex because most of the mechanics of the «bottega» have been invisibilized, even if we know some names such as «Zoroastro» or Giovanni Tedesco. In the field of science, Leonard was constantly focused on the phenomenological world he represented, almost photographically, through detailed and explanatory drawings always accompanied by descriptions that can be considered as real technical and scientific reports, compiled in such a way as to make the content usable not only for it-even but also potentially for others.
It can be said that he used an “operational” scientific approach with “operational” representations. From this point of view, he was indeed a maestro, that is to say a «magister», in the Latin sense derived from magis, «plus», «superior». Indeed, he was certainly an acute and competent scholar and in many cases he was able to do more than others, as, to cite a few examples, in the case of the study of friction, the law still today designated Leonard’s law for fluids, and also able to leave behind an exclusive heritage of knowledge.

The very form of the notebooks suggests that Leonard, himself self-taught, had a real talent for teaching but can we affirm that he was a master? This is the question posed by this international colloquium in a multidisciplinary way

> This conference is organised in partnership with the Château du Clos Lucé



  • Prof. Salvatore Magazù, FROM Department of Mathematical and Informatics Sciences, Physical Sciences and Earth Sciences, University of Messina – IT, IN RESIDENCE AT Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance (CESR)  / CNRS, University of Tours – FR
  • Prof. Pascal Brioist, Centre for Advanced Studies in the Renaissance (CESR)  / CNRS, University of Tours – FR


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