Leonardo da Vinci on Visualizing the Forces of Nature: Gravity

Leonardo da Vinci on Visualizing the Forces of Nature: Gravity

Matthew Landrus & Claire Farago

Dialogue between Claire Farago & Matthew Landrus
19 May 2023 - 10:00am

In a newly published study, Morteza Gharib, Professor of Aeronautics at Caltech, and two of his colleagues argue that Leonardo accurately estimated the gravitational constant two centuries before Newton without the aid of advanced mathematics (Leonardo 56/1, 2023, 21-27). Two specialists on Leonardo's writings discuss how Leonardo developed his ideas using a very different conceptual apparatus through a combination of words and images. Their conversation focuses on small-scale models and a variety of graphic techniques that are relevant to contemporary challenges ranging from fluid dynamics to determining the composition of the earth's core.

About the Speakers:

Matthew Landrus
Dr. Matthew Landrus is Supernumerary Fellow at the Faculty of History and Wolfson College, University of Oxford, where he teaches early modern history. He is also a Senior Lecturer at the Rhode Island School of Design. Most of his publications address the work of Leonardo da Vinci, particularly with regard to engagements between early modern visual culture, natural philosophy, engineering and technology. His books include The Treasures of Leonardo (2006), Leonardo da Vinci’s Giant Crossbow (2010), Le Armi e le Macchine da Guerra: il de re Militari di Leonardo (2010), and Instruments and Mechanisms: Leonardo and the Art of Engineering (2013).

Claire Farago
Claire Farago is Professor Emerita at the University of Colorado Boulder, where she taught Renaissance art, theory, and criticism for thirty years. She has held visiting professorships at UCLA, the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, the University of Melbourne, Australia, the University of York-U.K, the University of Zürich, and Smith College.
Often working collaboratively, she has published widely on topics ranging from Leonardo da Vinci’s writings to contemporary critical theory. Her book publications include Leonardo da Vinci’s Paragone: A Critical Interpretation (1992); the edited volume, Leonardo da Vinci and the Ethics of Style (2008); the edited volume, Re-Reading Leonardo: The Treatise on Painting across Europe 1550-1900 (2009); and The Fabrication of Leonardo da Vinci’s Trattato della pittura, with a scholarly edition of the editio princeps (1651) and an annotated English translation (2018), a collaboration with an international group of Leonardo scholars including Matthew Landrus. She currently resides in Los Angeles, where she is affiliated with UCLA.

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