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Exhibitions | Online | Leonardo da Vinci and the Codex Huygens

Image of Codex Huygens Fol. 7

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The Codex Huygens is a Renaissance manuscript for a treatise on painting closely related to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Its author has been identified as the North Italian artist Carlo Urbino (ca. 1510/20–after 1585), who must have been familiar with Leonardo's notes before they were dispersed. Some of the drawings are faithful copies of now lost originals by Leonardo. Others, like the Vitruvian Man, are related to Leonardo but independent interpretations in their own right. The extant manuscript, which appears to be only a fragment, includes five sections (books or regole):

  1. Form and Structure of the Human Body
  2. Movements of the Human Body
  3. Transformations
  4. Proportions of the Human Body and Proportions of the Horse
  5. Perspective

The name of the codex goes back to its former owner, Constantijn Huygens (1628–1697), secretary to King William III of England. Huygens acquired the manuscript in 1690, firmly believing it to be an autograph work by Leonardo.

This online exhibition was created in conjunction with the exhibition Leonardo da Vinci: Treasures from the Biblioteca Reale, Turin, on view October 25, 2013, through February 2, 2014, organized by Per Rumberg, Associate Curator of Drawings and Prints

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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.