Week 1 - Word and Image

The first week will be devoted to Leonardo's thinking and writing process. It will focus specifically on Leonardo's idiosyncratic form of writing and the interpretative challenges it presents. As it is well known, Leonardo never completed a book, even though he planned many on every possible branch of knowledge. His heterogeneous and fragmentary notes present immense challenges of interpretation and dating, which are fundamental for an understanding of Leonardo's thought process and of his methods for transferring scientific observation into pictorial and graphic language. Two eminent visiting scholars will guide the faculty through the intricacies of Leonardo's writings.

Martin Kemp, Professor Emeritus, Oxford University, UK, will open the Institute with a two-day presentation that will offer a substantive and stimulating introduction to the relationship between art and science in the Renaissance and to Leonardo's mind. The author of innumerable books, articles, and exhibitions on Leonardo, Kemp will teach us strategies to reconstruct Leonardo's thought process from his notebooks, especially from the Codex Leicester, of which he is preparing a new critical edition.

Carlo Vecce, Professor of Literature at the University of Naples "L'Orientale", is an expert on Leonardo's literary writings and a careful editor of some of his manuscripts. He will lead the NEH Summer Institute for two days, sharing his expertise on the relation between word and image in Leonardo's writings. Building on his editorial work on Leonardo's Codex Arundel (British Library) and the Libro di Pittura (Vatican Library) he will explain how Leonardo compiled his notebooks and how they were rearranged after the artist's death.