5. da Vinci’s Notebook

Leonardo da Vinci’s notebook, Italy, ca. 1506–08, ©British Library Board

You will find these pages written by Renaissance artist and inventor Leonardo Da Vinci in the Astrology room. Like much of Da Vinci’s writing, the Italian text on these pages is written from right to left. There are differing theories as to why Da Vinci used this “mirror writing.” The most common theory is that since he was left handed, writing from right to left would simply prevent him from getting ink on his arm. Another theory suggest he wrote this way because he was dyslexic.

The subject matter in these pages is the moon. The diagram in the center on the right page shows the Sun and Moon orbiting around Earth. Da Vinci also believed that the moon was covered with water.