The twelve Paris Notebooks by Leonardo Da Vinci

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The twelve Paris Notebooks by Leonardo Da Vinci

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The Paris Notebooks by Leonardo Da Vinci

The personal collection of thought of the great universal genius

(Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France, Paris)

Five-hundred years after the death of one the greatest genii of all times, Faksimile Verlag publishes a unique testimony of Leonardo da Vinci’s creations and ideas: a total of 12 sketchbooks filled with his personal notes are kept today in the Institut de France and are going to be published over the upcoming years as true-to-original facsimile editions. The series starts with the first edition, including manuscript, A, E, M and the supplement A: it will allow you to immerse in the thoughts of this great Genius from the Times of the Renaissance.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo (1452–1519) was born in the Italian town of Anchiano (Vinci), where he got his name from, and started with his notes in the 1480s. Da Vinci wrote his texts in mirror writing, firstly because he was left-handed and thus wouldn’t smear the ink and secondly probably in order to keep his ideas a secret.

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An incredible collection

He filled more than 7,200 pages, which have been preserved to us in a compendium of 25 notebooks (codices). These books give an insight in the main subjects of Leonardo’s interest: the principles of physics and studies about flying, water, anatomy, arts, as well as several topics in the areas of mechanics, botany, geology, architecture and weapons technology.

Sigmund Freud wrote about him in 1910:

„He was like someone who had woken up in the darkness, while all the others were still asleep.” 

Manuscript A, E und M and Compl. A

The first edition will consist of the first 4 notebooks (manuscript A, E und M sowie Compl. A) and includes anotations from the most diverse areas, like painting and drawing, properties of water and elements of nature, flight, geometry, architecture and engineering.  

Manuscript A

Manuscrit A originally consisted of 114 pages. The Italian book thief Count Guglielmo Libri stole pages 81 to 114 in the 1840s and sold them, together with 10 pages from Manuscrit B, to the British collector B. Ashburnham. These missing pages could only be recovered in 1890 by the Institut de France and were made available in two separate volumes as the Codices Asburnham. They are included in this exquisite first Facsimile Edition.

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The fine Art Facsimile Edition

Through his whole life, Leonardo always carried along a notebook with him in order to put down his ideas immediately.

Now his twelve Paris notebooks, together with two supplements, are made available as perfect, true-to-original facsimile editions, limited to a number of 990 copies.

The scientific commentary volume examines all aspects of the manuscript, traces back its exciting history and describes the main themes of Leonardo’s work. We are very excited to count on an excelling editorial team under the lead of Martin Kemp and Domenico Laurenza who are going to provide a formidable access of the partially very complex contents – written in ancient Italian and as previously mentioned, in mirror writing – by a modern translation of the content and an accessible explication of the main themes. Our endeavor is not only to preserve a piece of cultural heritage, publishing the facsimile of Da Vincis noteboks but also to make this formidable cultural treasure accessible to a wider public.

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Date of origin


Place of origin



Bibliothèque de l’Institut de France, Paris







Manuscript A



14,6 x 21,1 cm

128 pages

Compl. Manuscript A

(Codex Ashburnham I)



18,6 x 23,3 cm

74 pages

Manuscript B



16,7 x 23,3 cm

168 pages

Compl. Manuscript B

(Codex Ashburnham II)



18,3 x 23,7 cm

44 pages

Manuscript C



22,0 x 31,4 cm*

64 pages*

Manuscript D



15,9 x 22,3 cm*

36 pages*

Manuscript E



10,3 x 15,2 cm

160 pages

Manuscript F



10,0 x 14,5 cm*

194 pages*

Manuscript G



9,8 x 14,0 cm

186 pages

Manuscript H



7,4 x 10,2 cm*

288 pages*

Manuscript I



7,4 x 10,0 cm*

280 pages*

Manuscript K



6,7 x   9,9 cm*

268 pages*

Manuscript L



7,4 x 10,1 cm

188 pages

Manuscript M



7,1 x 10,0 cm

192 pages


*the exact final volume and format is to be confirmed



Type of Fine Art Edition

Personal Notebooks


Thinking and process of creation of a genius mind.


Leonardo da Vinci


limited to 990 copies

Scientific Commentary (language), including the translation of the original texts


English and German


1st edition: manuscript A, Compl. A, E, M

2nd edition: manuscript B, Compl. B, G, L

3rd edition: manuscript C, F, I

4th edition: manuscript D, H, K


The binding of each manuscript is true to the original. A precious leather casing protects each edition.

Publishing House

Faksimile Verlag

(in colaboration with Eikon Editores and the Institut de France)

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