cover image Leonardo Architect

Leonardo Architect

Rizzoli, Pedretti, Carlo Pedretti. Rizzoli International Publications, $75 (364pp) ISBN 978-0-8478-0646-1

Most of Leonardo da Vinci's architectural projects were never constructed, and practically nothing remains of the few that were realized. Pedretti's close examination of sketches from the Codex Atlanticus and other da Vinci notebooks combines fact and conjecture on military, civic, theatrical and engineering projects. Whether Leonardo designed an imposing fortress or a lord's residence, his buildings have a gracefulness and proportion which make them inviting. His Renaissance touches humanized medieval cityscapes. His grandiose plan for the enlargement of Milan, a turning point in town planning, envisioned that urban center's transformation from petty tyranny to modern city. A leading authority on da Vinci, Pedretti sets forth intriguing evidence that Venice's fortifications preserved elements of Leonardo's original plans. Unfortunately, this lavishly illustrated monograph bogs down in technical detail that will be of little interest to the general reader. December 2