Leonardo da Vinci - La lettera a Ludovico il Moro

One of 24 copies with a drypoint etching by Giuseppe Penone.
The first modern
curriculum vitae, written by Leonardo da Vinci to the Duke in Milan, proves to be a document of rare effectiveness. Its ten-point structure describes a man so versatile and polymath that it would be difficult for any other candidate to compete with that.

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In this letter (Foglio 1082 r, Codice Atlantico, Ambrosiana Library), Leonardo lists its military, architectural and artistic competences, thus masterfully titillating the Duke's aspirations. He got the job, ça va sans dire.

In particular, the first 7 point are devoted to military skills, as Leonardo intends to leverage on Ludovico's geo-political ambitions, by showing his ability to build war machines and thwart any adversary fortification.

A volume in 4to format (22x35 cm) of 52 pages typeset by hand in 16 point Caslon types, derived from the original 18th century punches cut by William Caslon in London.


Edited by Mons. Marco Navoni.
Preface by Mons. Marco Ballarini, Prefetto della Biblioteca Ambrosiana. Introduction by Mons. Marco Navoni, Dottore della Biblioteca Ambrosiana.

Limited print run of 24 copies printed on pure cotton off-white Magnani laid paper, made in Tuscany, which include an etching by Giuseppe Penone, signed and numbered. The etching, entitled "Identità", was printed by the Atelier René Tazé in Paris. 

The drawing of the eye is a drypoint etching on a copper plate. Below, the center of the pupil has been enlarged and drawn with a dry point onto copper, creating a set of dots.


Moreover, for a total print run of 188 copies, the book comes in the following editions:

- 85 numbered copies printed on pure cotton cream-colored Umbria paper, made in Fabriano (of which 20 copies not for sale, marked with alphabet letters, were printed for the Ambrosiana Library);

- 71 numbered copies printed on pure cotton ivory Magnani wove paper, made in Tuscany(details and prince on request);

- 6 numbered copies printed on pure cotton heavy Magnani paper, made in Tuscany, details and prince on request);

- 2 numbered copies printed on pure cotton Rives paper, made in France, where Leonardo spent his last two years.


The volume is housed in a hand-made slipcase and box, custom made to an exact size, whose exteriors are covered with Ingres paper and parchment. The book title is letterpress-printed on the slipcase’s spine.

  • Size (cm) 22x35
  • Typefaces Entirely typeset by hand in Caslon type, cut by William Caslon on steel punches in the first half of the 18th century, and cast in the original matrices of the time.
  • Paper pure cotton off-white Magnani laid paper, made in Tuscany
  • Number of pages 52
  • Total print run 24
  • Weight (kg) 1,5