Knesset rebuffs ‘Post’ critique of Leonardo exhibit

March 22, 2010 20:55

Official says glass cases not intended to show both sides of 'Codex Atlanticus' leaves.

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Da Vinci sketches

da vinci 311. (photo credit: Leonardo)

A Jerusalem Post report on Leonardo’s Codex Atlanticus garnered angry reactions from both the Italian Embassy in Israel and the Knesset, who lamented the representation of the exhibition as a “missed opportunity.”

The seven leaves from the Codex Atlanticus, placed on view in the Knesset until March 18, were brought to Israel by a delegation accompanying Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, who made an official visit to Israel at the beginning of February.

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The pages arrived in Israel after a massive restoration project in which the codex, Leonardo’s greatest collection at 1,119 pages, was taken apart leaf by leaf and each of its pages framed. The main effort took place between 1968 and 1972, but the most recent restoration work was carried out as late as 2008.

Each of the pages has a recto and a verso side; Leonardo did not treat his scientific treatises as works of art and made drawings and notes in his famous inverted handwriting on both sides.

But while it may seem that the glass contraptions where the leaves were displayed are meant to show both sides of the page, a Knesset official responsible for art objects displayed in the building, as well as the Italian Embassy, clarified to the Post that the exhibition was only intended to show one side of each leaf from the codex and that they were indeed shown in the same manner in a G-8 meeting prior to arriving in Israel.

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