da Vinci’s Biciletta?

Another item spotlight from da Vinci: The Genius : The da Vinci bicycle.

A drawing astonishingly close to the modern bicycle

was attributed by some to Leonardo da Vinci but now it is refuted as a later addition by a student of da Vinci’s or more likely as a modern hoax.

Discovery of the Sketch: During restoration work on the Codice Atlantico in the 1960’s, a curious drawing came to light. Hidden behind a mat frame was a small sketch of a two wheeled vehicle, so similar to that of a modern bicycle that it was truly a shock. Although thought of initially as a wonderful new find, the drawing quickly came into question. Many have suggested that the work is a modern forgery and that the drawing style employed is very different from that of Leonardo da Vinci. A great number of convincing articles have been presented showing reasons to suggest that the sketch is a hoax, however the sketch continues to capture the imagination of da Vinci enthusiasts. To learn more, check out this article on the da Vinci Bicycle Hoax.

This gorgeous reproduction of the bicycle sketch in the Codice Atlantico presents a machine that da Vinci likely did not conceive, however so many of its workings could easily be adapted from inventions that Leonardo truly did devise.

About the Codice Atlantico: Pompeo Leoni, a 16th century sculptor collected Leonardo da Vinci’s notebooks and drawings and bound them into a collection. The Codice Atlantico is a twelve-volume set of 1,119 pages dating from 1478 to 1519 and consists of all sorts of drawings attributed to da Vinci. The Codice is currently housed at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana, Milan.

A Bicycle is born: Credit for the modern bicycle is often attributed to Pierre and Ernest Michaux, Parisian carriage makers who presented the two-wheeled pedal-operated velocipede in the 1860’s. Pierre Lallement, an employee of Michaux, claimed the design had been stolen from him and moved to America to established his own company in Connecticut. Lallement registered the first bicycle patent in 1866. The patent was bought by Albert A. Pope and the design was produced and marketed as the Columbia bicycle.

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