Torino, Italy

Leonardo’s Codex on the Flight of Birds was collected in its entirety in the 19th century after being traded around Europe. The Codex was given to the Royal Library of Torino at the end of the 19th century to King Umberto I by the Russian scholar, Theodore Sabachnikoff. The Royal Library was founded in 1831 by King Carlo Alberto of Savoia-Carignano. In addition to his personal collections, Alberto relied on scholars to collect and gather important historical documents related to Italy and the House of Savoy. In addition to the Codex on the Flight of Birds, the Royal Library has also housed Leonardo’s Self-Portrait in red chalk and the Study for the Angel’s Face, which was used as a study for his painting, The Virgin of the Rocks. After brief loan to the US National Air and Space Museum in Washington DC in 2013, the Codex returned to the Royal Library where it still remains.


The Royal Library In Turino. Biblioteca Reale,


Latitude: 45.070339300000
Longitude: 7.686864000000

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Da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds

circa. 1505

Da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds

This image is a sketch of a proposed machine for human flight depicted in the Codex on the Flight of Birds. The Helicopter was not da Vinci’s only attempt at exploring flight. Da Vinci’s fascination with flight included both human flight and the flight of birds. Between 1505 and 1506, da Vinci produced the Codex on the Flight of Birds. This work included observations about the physics behind the flight of individual species of birds. The human flight device pictured here uses the physical concept of pressure differentials seen on the wings of birds and attempts to apply this principle to a machine allow for human flight. Like the helicopter, this device would work in theory, however the machine was much too heavy to work with human power alone. After his death, da Vinci’s Codex was traded around through Europe before being restored to its completed form and stored in the Royal Library in Torino.


Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. “Leonardo Da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds.” Leonardo Da Vinci's Codex on the Flight of Birds | National Air and Space Museum, 22 Oct. 2013,