Leonardo Works on Theatrical Productions During Apprenticeship

During his years as an apprentice in Florence, Leonardo spent much time working on creating pageants and theatrical performances for the Medici family. This work included creating costumes and scenery and devising new designs for stage machinery and special effects. Among the special effects used in these pageants were devises that allowed performers and props to be suspended through the air. Many scholars suggest that a number of Leonardo’s devices for human flight were actually created for or inspired by stage mechanisms for theatrical purposes. Many believe that the famous helicopter, or aerial screw, was actually a originally designed as a ingegni, or devise for changing scenery. During his early work in theater, Leonardo learned much about engineering, design principles, and creativity that he would continually apply to his other works.


Isaacson, Walter. Leonardo Da Vinci: the Biography. Simon & Schuster, 2018.

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Event date:

circa. 1467 to circa. 1472