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Leonardo Depicted America: Misread as the Moon

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DOI: 10.4236/ahs.2019.84011    160 Downloads   380 Views


Leonardo da Vinci must have been aware that Columbus discovered new territories in the West. Until now, no material evidence had been found to substantiate this assumption. Here we show that Leonardo not only read Amerigo Vespucci’s letter (derived from a painted star constellation), but that he even drew a map including the New World, a drawing which was previously interpreted as a depiction of the Moon. Finally, Leonardo engraved his notion of this new continent on an ostrich egg globe (now known as the Da Vinci Globe) and made a copper cast of this. Both the cosmographic and cartographic clues demonstrate that Leonardo da Vinci knew about the fourth continent, to be named “America” in 1507, less than a decade after Columbus embarked upon its shores. This expansion of Leonardo’s cartographic legacy comes at a time of increased interest for such multi-disciplinary insights, as the world commemorates in 2019 the 500th anniversary of his death.

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Missinne, S. and Verhoeven, G. (2019) Leonardo Depicted America: Misread as the Moon. Advances in Historical Studies, 8, 139-147. doi: 10.4236/ahs.2019.84011.

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