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Leonardo da Vinci notebook on flight heads to Smithsonian

August 09, 2013|By David Ng
  • A page from a 1505 notebook created by Leonardo da Vinci, in which he explored the mechanics of flight.
A page from a 1505 notebook created by Leonardo da Vinci, in which he explored… (Smithsonian Institution…)

Leonardo da Vinci explored the possibility of human flight centuries before the Wright brothers made it a reality. A notebook that the Renaissance artist created on the subject will be making a rare trip to the U.S. in an exhibition at the Smithsonian's National Air & Space Museum in September.

"Codex on the Flight of Birds" -- which experts believe the artist created to study avian flight in order to better understand its mechanics -- will be on exhibit in Washington from Sept. 13 to Oct. 22.

The Smithsonian said the Codex will be displayed near the Wright brothers' 1903 aircraft, and will be supplemented by an interactive digital display that will allow visitors to virtually browse the notebook.

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The Codex is believed to have been created in 1505 and features the artist's traditional backward writing that was intended to be read in a mirror.

Italy's Biblioteca Reale in Turin is loaning the notebook to the Smithsonian for the exhibit. 

The Smithsonian has created a video introduction to the Codex that includes up-close images of pages from the notebook.

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