Leonardo da Vinci and the Codex Huygens

Image from Codex Huygens

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).

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 digital facsimile 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.

Carlo Urbino
active 16th century
Codex Huygens
ca. 1560–1570
Pen and brown ink, black chalk, incised lines on paper.
7 1/16 x 5 1/4 inches (179 x 1354 mm)
Purchased in 1938
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