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da Vinci image

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)
Two Designs for Machines (before 1519)
Pen and brown ink, over black chalk
11 3/8 x 7 15/16 inches (284 x 201 mm)
Gift of Otto Manley; 1986.50
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During the Renaissance many artists produced designs for weaponry and defenses, a subject of particular interest to Leonardo, by whom nearly four hundred drawings survive. As is revealed in his characteristic reverse writing, the upper sketch describes a device to scale a tower during a naval siege, and the lower details a mechanism to bend wooden beams. The designs were likely executed during Leonardo's sojourn at the Sforza court in Milan, around 1487–90.

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The programs of The Morgan Library & Museum are made possible with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council, and by the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature.

Background images: Photography by Todd Eberle unless otherwise noted. © 2006 Todd Eberle.