The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci Page 46

Henceforth it were well to rouse thyself from sleep. The master said that lying in down will not bring thee to Fame; nor staying beneath the quilts. He who, without Fame, burns his life to waste, leaves no more vestige of himself on earth than wind-blown smoke, or the foam upon the sea. [Footnote: From the last sentence we may infer that this text is by the hand of a pupil of Leonardo's.-- On the same sheet are the notes Nos.1175 and 715 in Leonardo's own handwriting.]


On the morning of Santo Zanobio the
29th of May 1504, I had from Lionardo Vinci
15 gold ducats and began to spend them.
to Mona Margarita   S  62 d 4
to remake the ring  S  19 d 8
clothes             S  13
good beef           S   4
eggs                S   6
debt at the bank    S   7
velvet              S  12
wine                S  6 d 4
meat                S  4
mulberries          S  2 d 4
mushrooms           S  3 d 4
salad               S  1
fruit               S  1 d 4
candles             S  3
...                 S  1
flour               S  2

Sunday 198 8

bread               S  6
wine                S  9 d 4
meat                S  7
soup                S  2
fruit               S  3 d 4
candles             S  3 d

Monday 31

bread               S  6 d 4
meat                S 10 d 8
wine                S  9 d 4
fruit               S  4
soup                S  1 d 8




bread              S  6
meat               S 11
wine               S  7
fruit              S  9
soup               S  2
salad              S  1

[Footnote 1548 and 1549: On the same sheet is the text No. 1015 in Leonardo's own handwriting.]


To Monna Margarita          S  5
to Tomaso                   S 14
to Monna Margarita     d  5 S  2
on the day of San Zanobi
left ... after
payment                d 13 S  2 d 4
of Monna Margarita

altogether d 14 S 5 d 4


On Monday, the l3th of February, I lent lire S 7 to Lionardo to spend, Friday d 7.

[Footnote: This note is followed by an account very like the one given as No. 1549.]


Stephano Chigi, Canonico ..., servant of the honorable Count Grimani at S. Apostoli.

[Footnote: Compare No. 674, 21-23.]


Having become anxious ... Bernardo di Simone, Silvestro di Stefano, Bernardo di Jacopo, Francesco di Matteo Bonciani, Antonio di Giovanni Ruberti, Antonio da Pistoia.... Antonio; He who has time and waits for time, will lose his friends and his money.


Reverend Maestro, Domino Giovanni, I spoke to Maestro Zacaria as a brother about this business, and I made him satisfied with the arrangement that I had wished; that is, as regards the commission that I had from the parties and I say that between us there is no need to pay money down, as regard the pictures of the ...


Of things seen through a mist that which is nearest its farthest limit will be least visible, and all the more so as they are more remote.


Theodoricus Rex Semper Augustus.


Either you say Hesperia alone, and it will mean Italy, or you add ultima, and it will mean Spain. Umbria, part of Tuscany.

[Footnote: The notes in Greek, Nos. 1557, 1558 and 1562 stand in close connection with each other, but the meaning of some words is very doubtful, and a translation is thus rendered impossible.]


[Footnote: Greek Characters]


Canonica of ... on the 5th of July 1507; my dearly beloved mother, sisters and cousin I herewith inform you that thanks to God I am ... about the sword which I ... bring it to Maso at the piazza ... and I will settle the business of Piero so that ...

[Footnote: AMORETTI, Mem. Stor. XXIV, quotes the first three lines of this letter as by Leonardo. The character of the writing however does not favour this hypothesis, and still less the contents. I should regard it rather a rough draft of a letter by young Melzi. I have not succeeded in deciphering completely the 13 lines of this text. Amoretti reads at the beginning Canonica di Vaprio, but Vaprio seems to me a very doubtful reading.]


Ut bene respondet Naturae ars docta! dedisset Vincius, ut tribuit cetera - sic animam - Noluit ut similis magis haec foret: altera sic est: Possidet illius Maurus amans animam.

[Footnote: These three epigrams on the portrait of Lucrezia Crivelli, a picture by Leonardo which must have been lost at a very early date, seem to have been dedicated to Leonardo by the poet. Leonardo used the reverse of the sheet for notes on geometry.]

Hujus quam cernis nomen Lucretia, Divi Omnia cui larga contribuere manu. Rara huic forma data est; pinxit Leonardos, amavit Maurus, pictorum primus hic, ille ducum.

Naturam, ac superas hac laesit imagine Divas Pictor: tantum hominis posse manum haec doluit, Illae longa dari tam magnae tempera formae, Quae spatio fuerat deperitura brevi.


Egidius Romanus on the formation of the human body in the mother's womb [Footnote 1: Liber magistri Egidii de pulsibus matrice conipositus (cum commentario Gentilis de Fulgineo) published in 1484 at Padova, in 1494 and in 1514 at Venice, and in 1505 at Lyons.].

[Footnote 2:2. This text appears to be in a handwriting different from that in the note, l. 1. Here the reading is not so simple as AMORETTI gave it, Mem. Star. XXV: A Monsieur Lyonard Peintre du Roy pour Amboyse. He says too that this address is of the year 1509, and Mr. Ravaisson remarks: "De cette suscription il semble qu'on peut inferer que Leonard etait alors en France, a la cour de Louis XII ... Pour conclure je crois qu'il n'est pas prouve que Leonard de Vinci n'ait pas fait un voyage de quelques mois en France sous Louis XII, entre le printemps de 1509 et l'automne de 1510."--I must confess that I myself have not succeeded in deciphering completely this French writing of which two words remain to me doubtful. But so much seems to be quite evident that this is not an address of a letter at all, but a certificate or note. Amboise[l. 6] I believe to be the signature of Charles d'Amboise the Governor of Milan. If this explanation is the right one, it can be easily explained by the contents of Nos. 1350 and 1529. The note, line 1, was perhaps added later by another hand; and Leonardo himself wrote afterwards on the same sheet some geometrical explanations. I must also point out that the statement that this sheet belongs to the year 1509 has absolutely no foundation in fact. There is no clue whatever for giving a precise date to this note.] To Monsieur le Vinci,--the horses of the king's equerry.... Continue the payment to Ms. Lyonard, Painter to the King.

[6] Amboise.


[Footnote: Greek Characters]


Memorandum to Maestro Lionardo to have ... the state of Florence.


To remind your Excellency that Ridolfo Manini brought to Florence a quantity of crystal besides other stones such as are ...


XVI C. 6 de Ciuitate Dei, se Antipodes.

[Footnote: A facsimile of this note, which refers to a well known book by St. Augustin, is given on page 254.]


Leonardo's Will.

Be it known to all persons, present and to come that at the court of our Lord the King at Amboise before ourselves in person, Messer Leonardo da Vinci painter to the King, at present staying at the place known as Cloux near Amboise, duly considering the certainty of death and the uncertainty of its time, has acknowledged and declared in the said court and before us that he has made, according to the tenor of these presents, his testament and the declaration of his last will, as follows. And first he commends his soul to our Lord, Almighty God, and to the Glorious Virgin Mary, and to our lord Saint Michael, to all the blessed Angels and Saints male and female in Paradise.

Item. The said Testator desires to be buried within the church of Saint Florentin at Amboise, and that his body shall be borne thither by the chaplains of the church.

Item. That his body may be followed from the said place to the said church of Saint Florentin by the collegium of the said church, that is to say by the rector and the prior, or by their vicars and chaplains of the church of Saint Denis of Amboise, also the lesser friars of the place, and before his body shall be carried to the said church this Testator desires, that in the said church of Saint Florentin three grand masses shall be celebrated by the deacon and sub-deacon and that on the day when these three high masses are celebrated, thirty low masses shall also be performed at Saint Gregoire.

Item. That in the said church of Saint Denis similar services shall be performed, as above.

Item. That the same shall be done in the church of the said friars and lesser brethren.

Item. The aforesaid Testator gives and bequeaths to Messer Francesco da Melzo, nobleman, of Milan, in remuneration for services and favours done to him in the past, each

[Footnote: See page 420.]

and all of the books the Testator is at present possessed of, and the instruments and portraits appertaining to his art and calling as a painter.

Item. The same Testator gives and bequeaths henceforth for ever to Battista de Vilanis his servant one half, that is the moity, of his garden which is outside the walls of Milan, and the other half of the same garden to Salai his servant; in which garden aforesaid Salai has built and constructed a house which shall be and remain henceforth in all perpetuity the property of the said Salai, his heirs and successors; and this is in remuneration for the good and kind services which the said de Vilanis and Salai, his servants have done him in past times until now.

Item. The said Testator gives to Maturina his waiting woman a cloak of good black cloth lined with fur, a ... of cloth and two ducats paid once only; and this likewise is in remuneration for good service rendered to him in past times by the said Maturina.

Item. He desires that at his funeral sixty tapers shall be carried which shall be borne by sixty poor men, to whom shall be given money for carrying them; at the discretion of the said Melzo, and these tapers shall be distributed among the four above mentioned churches.

Item. The said Testator gives to each of the said churches ten lbs. of wax in thick tapers, which shall be placed in the said churches to be used on the day when those said services are celebrated.

Item. That alms shall be given to the poor of the Hotel-Dieu, to the poor of Saint Lazare d'Amboise and, to that end, there shall be given and paid to the treasurers of that same fraternity the sum and amount of seventy soldi of Tours.

Item. The said Testator gives and bequeaths to the said Messer Francesco Melzo, being present and agreeing, the remainder of his pension and the sums of money which are owing to him from the past time till the day of his death by the receiver or treasurer-general M. Johan Sapin, and each and every sum of money that he has already received from the aforesaid Sapin of his said pension, and in case he should die before the said Melzo and not otherwise; which moneys are at present in the possession of the said Testator in the said place called Cloux, as he says. And he likewise gives and bequeaths to the said Melzo all and each of his clothes which he at present possesses at the said place of Cloux, and all in remuneration for the good and kind services done by him in past times till now, as well as in payment for the trouble and annoyance he may incur with regard to the execution of this present testament, which however, shall all be at the expense of the said Testator.

And he orders and desires that the sum of four hundred scudi del Sole, which he has deposited in the hands of the treasurer of Santa Maria Nuova in the city of Florence, may be given to his brothers now living in Florence with all the interest and usufruct that may have accrued up to the present time, and be due from the aforesaid treasurer to the aforesaid Testator on account of the said four hundred crowns, since they were given and consigned by the Testator to the said treasurers.

Item. He desires and orders that the said Messer Francesco de Melzo shall be and remain the sole and only executor of the said will of the said Testator; and that the said testament shall be executed in its full and complete meaning and according to that which is here narrated and said, to have, hold, keep and observe, the said Messer Leonardo da Vinci, constituted Testator, has obliged and obliges by these presents the said his heirs and successors with all his goods moveable and immoveable present and to come, and has renounced and expressly renounces by these presents all and each of the things which to that are contrary. Given at the said place of Cloux in the presence of Magister Spirito Fieri vicar, of the church of Saint Denis at Amboise, of M. Guglielmo Croysant priest and chaplain, of Magister Cipriane Fulchin, Brother Francesco de Corion, and of Francesco da Milano, a brother of the Convent of the Minorites at Amboise, witnesses summoned and required to that end by the indictment of the said court in the presence of the aforesaid M. Francesco de Melze who accepting and agreeing to the same has promised by his faith and his oath which he has administered to us personally and has sworn to us never to do nor say nor act in any way to the contrary. And it is sealed by his request with the royal seal apposed to legal contracts at Amboise, and in token of good faith.

Given on the XXIIIrd day of April MDXVIII, before Easter.

And on the XXIIIrd day of this month of April MDXVIII, in the presence of M. Guglielmo Borian, Royal notary in the court of the bailiwick of Amboise, the aforesaid M. Leonardo de Vinci gave and bequeathed, by his last will and testament, as aforesaid, to the said M. Baptista de Vilanis, being present and agreeing, the right of water which the King Louis XII, of pious memory lately deceased gave to this same de Vinci, the stream of the canal of Santo Cristoforo in the duchy of Milan, to belong to the said Vilanis for ever in such wise and manner that the said gentleman made him this gift in the presence of M. Francesco da Melzo, gentleman, of Milan and in mine.

And on the aforesaid day in the said month of April in the said year MDXVIII the same M. Leonardo de Vinci by his last will and testament gave to the aforesaid M. Baptista de Vilanis, being present and agreeing, each and all of the articles of furniture and utensils of his house at present at the said place of Cloux, in the event of the said de Vilanis surviving the aforesaid M. Leonardo de Vinci, in the presence of the said M. Francesco Melzo and of me Notary &c. Borean.

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