Vatican City, Biblioteca Apostolica Vaticana
MS Barb. Lat. 4304, datable 1634-1640
372 numbered chapters, with chapter headings, 47 illustrations
Table of Contents
Opinione di Lionardo da Vinci. Modo di dipingere prospettive, ombre, lontananze, altezze bassezze da discosto et altro
Roman provenance documented by watermark, from the library of cardinal Francesco Barberini (1597-1679)
This manuscript is a 17th-century copy of M1 (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, MS 467 inf.), one of the earliest versions of Leonardo’s Treatise on painting. Made in Cassiano dal Pozzo’s the library between 1634 and 1640, it was used to revise M3 (Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, MS H 228 inf.), Cassiano’s master copy of Leonardo’s Treatise on painting.
Once believed to be one of the earliest surviving copies of the abridged Treatise (Steinitz 1958, Pedretti 1977), it is now regarded as a 17th-century copy (Sparti 2003, Barone 2011). The textual and visual comparison between VB and the earliest surviving copies of Leonardo’s Treatise on painting shows that VB is a copy of M1 rather than of F6. In this respect, illuminating is the transformation of I010: in F6 the image I010 is identical to VU, but in M1, which is a copy of F6, I010 was copied with a slight difference: a wider space than in F6 (or VU) separates the two parts of the image, a minor detail which however relates the two parts of the image to two different chapters. Copies from M1, including VB, keep the two parts of I010 separated attaching each of them to a different chapter. On the other hand, VB introduces some differences in comparison to both M1 and F6: the Hercules group (I038), which was a single image in VU as well as in F6 and M1, is divided into two groups in VB; I006 illustrating the chapter "Delli reflessi duplicati et triplicati", which is present in both F6 and M1, was not included in VB. The only major textual difference between VB and M1 pertains to T1042: VB follows the partition documented in F6 rather than the partition of M1, but this discrepancy may be explained with the fact that chapter numbers were added to M1 later, reflecting the order of the printed edition of 1651. It is certain that Cassiano dal Pozzo used VB to revise his master copy of Leonardo’s Treatise on painting (M3=Milan, Biblioteca Ambrosiana, MS H 228 inf.) (Barone 2011). VB was copied numerous times, often with variations in text and image, including in P1, MV1, RC1, CE, FM3, L2, and G1 (Barone 2011).
VB entered the library of cardinal Francesco Barberini in 1634 (Sparti 2003); it was acquired by the Biblioteca apostolica vaticana under pope Leo XIII in 1902 as part of the Biblioteca Barberiniana.
Fols. 1-12 +  + fols. 15-110, 26 x 19 cm , in quarto; fol. 1r: "De Pictura"; fol. 2r: "Opinione di Lionardo da Vinci. Modo di dipingere prospettive, ombre, lontananze, altezze bassezze da discosto et altro"; fols. 3-12v: "Tavola della presente opera" (Table of Contents); fols. 1-188: Treatise on painting
Sparti, “Cassiano dal Pozzo, Poussin, and the Making and Publication of Leonardo’s Trattato,” Journal of the Courtauld and the Warburg Institutes 66 (2003): pp. 143-188; Steinitz, Treatise on painting, 1958, pp. 46-49 (B1); Barone, “Cassiano dal Pozzo's manuscript copy of the Trattato: new evidence of editorial procedures and responses to Leonardo in the seventeenth century” Raccolta Vinciana, 35 (2011), pp. 223-286 Farago, "Introduction," Re-Reading Leonardo, 2009, 1-36; Sconza, La réception du Libro di pittura de Léonard de Vinci: de la mort de l’auteur à la publication du Trattato della pittura (Paris 1651). Ph.D. Diss. Université de la Sorbonne nouvelle Paris III and Università degli Studi di Macerata, 2007.
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