The first digital instrument to explore Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus in its entirety

This cutting-edge website developed by The Visual Agency in close collaboration with the Veneranda Biblioteca Ambrosiana, a Museum based in Milan, allows a unique and holistic view on one of Leonardo Da Vinci’s greatest masterpieces.
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In occasion of the 500 years anniversary of Leonardo Da Vinci’s death, The Visual Agency – an information design agency specialized in data-visualisation and infographics based in Milan – has conceptualized, designed and developed an innovative instrument that enables users to independently elaborate on and discover the Codex Atlanticus in a way that has never been possible before.

From 15th of April onwards, the bilingual website (Italian and English) www.codex-atlanticus.it will be online, offering a panoramic overview of the Codex Atlanticus combined with drill-down and analytical functions to explore this epic work in more detail. Rearranging and filtering the pages of the Codex will uncover insights into Leonardo Da Vinci’s thought evolution and professional focus.

The instrument will also be accessible on a touchscreen situated in the famous Federicana Room, in the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in Milan, which is the location of the only permanent exhibition of selected pages of the Codex Atlanticus. The visitors of the museum will therefore benefit on-site from the interactive application and elaborate and investigate the Codex Atlanticus as if they would be using the website www.codex-atlanticus.it.

The main expertise of our agency is data-visualisation – explains Matteo Bonera, Creative Director of The Visual agency – which has been applied to this digital humanities project, transforming data-visualisation into an analytical language that sheds a new light onto this piece of work of outstanding complexity and sophistication.

Director of the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Monsignor Francesco Braschi points out that “the project developed by The Visual Agency corresponds entirely to our mission, to combine the highest academic and scientific qualifications with an outstanding capacity to spread and promote knowledge in all its forms. The project makes the Codex Atlanticus accessible for everybody and reveals its magnificent content in its entirety in a structured and comprehensive manner to the wider public.”

The visitors of www.codex-atlanticus.it can browse through the Codex starting from a panoramic overview organized by subject matter and year of creation of the pages. Selecting one particular subject matter or theme it is possible to filter and highlight pages of particular interest. Especially interesting is the possibility to reorganize the Codex’s pages according to their chronological order of creation. Choosing one specific page it is possible to see the front and back side of the page and to investigate further on specific arguments before moving on to pages of similar content.

The backbone of the entire project is the electronic database that has been created by The Visual Agency which is based on Augusto Marinoni’s work The Codex Atlanticus of Leonardo Da Vinci: Alphabetical index of subject matters. In this work the historian Marinoni catalogued the content of each page according to subject matter and time of creation. He established a vast database that allowed us through our interactive application to drill-down into the fragments of each page, the time of creation, subject and sub-subject matters.

The website has a responsive design and is suitable for mobile and tablets. The access to the website is free of charge and does not require registration.

The Codex Atlanticus is a collection of 1119 atlas sized pages of drawings and writings created by Leonardo Da Vinci during the ears between 1478 to 1519. The subject matters of the Codex cover a great variety of topics from geometry and war-machines to human science and architecture.

The Visual Agency is one of the biggest Italian information design agencies specialized in data-visualization and infographics. Founded in 2012 with the mission to help the corporate world to understand and communicate data, complex information and content using state-of-the-art data-visualization techniques. The Visual Agency works for international clients such as Barilla, Boehringer Ingelheim, ENI, Luxottica and Randstad.

Milano, April 2019


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