Leonardo da Vinci and optics
Theory and pictorial practice
This volume originated at a conference on Leonardo da Vinci's optical theory held at the Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz, 26-28 May 2010, and the initial roster of papers was soon expanded to include additional essays on recent restorations and technical analysis of Leonardo's paintings. As a result, fourteen authors consider the role of optics in Leonardo's thought and art from the point of view of ancient rhetoric, ophthalmology, philosophy, painting practice and modern technical analysis.
Art historians, conservators, restorers, philosophers and historians of science return to revered aspects of Leonardo's optics. Some reexamine his use of earlier sources, others his practice of optics, and other still his painting techniques, terminology, theory and legacy.
The authors mix disciplines and clarify matters of chronology and interpretation but their main aim is to interrogate the intersection between optical theory and painting practice - literally how Leonardo translated one into the other.
By gathering such a diverse array of essays and methodological approaches this volume wishes to facilitate future systematic consideration of how Leonardo translated his optical theory into painting and drawing techniques and, vice versa, how his painting practice inspired his optical investigations.