Hidden treasures

Why is the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci located at the Accademia Gallery in Venice?

Historical Curiosities
Leonardo

Why is the Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci located at the Accademia Gallery in Venice?

These days at the Accademia Gallery in Venice you can admire one of the most famous drawings in the history of art: the Vitruvian Man. It is a small ink drawing, but condenses the thought of Leonardo da Vinci on the human figure, which affected not only the Renaissance period. His idea was very simple: the proportions of the human body relate to the geometric shapes. The image has become so famous it has been reproduced in Italy on the one euro coin!

But why is this incredible work located in Venice?

We could say that in the nineteenth century the streets of the antique market were endless. In fact, until 1784 the work belonged to the Milanese Cardinal Cesare Monti, along with 16 other designs always attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, when the Countess Anna Luisa Monti gave them as a gift to Venanzio de Pagave, the secretary of the governor of Milan at the time of the Austrian empress Maria Theresa, who even reproduced them as engravings. In 1807, Giuseppe Bossi, a painter and writer and since 1801 the secretary of the Brera Academy in Milan, paid a substantial sum of money (6300 louis d'or (gold coins)) to obtain them and he continued throughout his life to collect the drawings of the great master Florentine. Finally Bossi collated his entire collection of drawings by Leonardo in a large volume, indicated by the letter K. In 1818 following the death of the collector, the Austrian government purchased his entire collection of drawings (almost 1800 pieces) and decided to assign them to the Accademia di Belle Arti in Venice, which had been recently founded (1807) and was eager to add important pieces that gave eminence to its collections. The Vitruvian Man was therefore displayed in the Sala delle Riduzioni, and has been available to young students since 1822.

By Insidecom Editorial Staff

Latest posts

Padua: Jacopo Marcello, the Captain who shouldn’t have died

ca-marcello
Big Names

Ca’ Marcello in Piombino Dese, Italy is a beautiful eighteenth-century Venetian villa still inhabited today by the Marcello Counts, a...

View

Venice: What’s the traditional Redentore food?

sarde-saor
Local Traditions

The number one traditional celebration, celebrated every year the third weekend of July, Redentore gives thanks for the end of the terr...

View

Venice: The village of Dolo and its inhabitants

Dolo
Figures of speech

In the province of Venice there is a small village, Dolo, which doesn’t have a great reputation... The dialect expression ‘Ma te vi...

View

Venice: The crypt of the church of San Simeone Piccolo

san-simeone-piccolo-venezia
Unknown places & works

As soon as you leave the train station in Venice, you will see the imposing dome of the church of San Simeone Piccolo, renovated in the...

View

Top posts

Padua: Prato della Valle in Padua

prato-della-valle
Historical Curiosities

Probably only the inhabitants of Padua and a few other people know of a particular record their city is boasting about: having the larg...

View

Treviso: Castelbrando in Cison di Valmarino

castelbrando
Unknown places & works

The province of Treviso offers its visitors many places steeped in history and imbued with charm ... One of these is definitely Castelb...

View

Venice: The tomb of Antonio Canova in the Frari Cathedral in Venice

Tomba_Canova
Mysteries & Legends

When visiting the splendid Frari Cathedral in Venice a pyramid can be seen in front of the church… Why is such a ...

View

Venice: The Empress Sissi in Venice

Sissi
Big Names

The Empress Sissi (1837-18989), the wife of Austria Emperor Francesco Giuseppe of Habsburg, has remained in the collective imagination ...

View