Da Vinci’s Codex Leicester is set to return on loan from its owner, Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates, ahead of the 500th anniversary of Da Vinci's death.
Since buying the manuscript for more than $30 million in 1994, Gates has loaned it to museums in the United States, Europe and Asia.
Next year, he will lend it to an Italian institution for the first time in decades: the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, where it will be on display from October 2018 to January 2019.
The 72-page manuscript, covered in dense notes written from right to left and punctuated by the Renaissance artist’s sketches, contains Da Vinci’s reflections on everything from tides to geology, why the moon is paler than the sun to how best to build bridges.
Photo: public domain, via Rosenrot21/Wikimedia Commons
It is considered one of the most important of all Da Vinci’s 30 scientific manuscripts.
Gates had each of its pages unbound and scanned to create a digital version, parts of which were included with Microsoft products.
The manuscript itself was last displayed in Italy in 1995, in Venice. Three of Da Vinci’s other notebooks are on permanent display in Italy, two in Milan and one in Turin.