Fidest – Agenzia giornalistica/press agency

Quotidiano di informazione – Anno 34 n° 316

Leonardo da Vinci: Cartographer

Posted by fidest press agency su martedì, 6 settembre 2016

aeroporto leonardo da vinciby Ann C. Pizzorusso. The artist Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was also a geologist and cartographer. He was an ardent observer of the Earth’s topography, depicting it precisely in his paintings and, by using surveying instruments he developed, produced a variety of maps which were extraordinarily accurate and precursors to modern ones. While in the service of Ludovico Sforza in Milan, da Vinci made many maps for civic as well as defensive purposes. He was familiar with the simple land-register plans, which he found at the municipal council. Then, using his artistic skill, drew maps producing both aerial and perspective views.
After leaving Milan in 1499 he consulted with the Venetians, who were concerned about a Turkish attack. He suggested artificial inundation of the Isonzo valley in Friuli and drew a small sketch map of the area.One of his most audacious assignments was to advise Florence on its plans to divert the Arno River away from Pisa, its enemy. Leonardo drew a series of reference maps. However, long before this military assignment, he drew maps envisioning ways to change the course of the Arno and open Florence to the sea.Leonardo’s maps were remarkable not only for their geographic accuracy, but because they anticipated modern day map-making by his dark shading of mountains and careful attention to rivers, lakes, valleys and towns. His alpine maps capture the geology of the area so precisely that rock types as well as mountain peaks can be identified.
In 1502 Leonardo, as military architect and engineer, worked for Cesare Borgia, whose goal was to conquer all of Romagna (north-central Italy). Da Vinci became chief inspector of military fortifications thus, traveling freely throughout the embattled region to investigate and evaluate. He looked not only at structures, but ports, waterways, trails and natural formations which could be useful for, or a hindrance to Borgia’s military objectives.
As da Vinci travelled through Romagna, he made a series of maps to be used for military purposes. They included geological and topographical information, vital for developing battle plans. Many of them survive today, including geographic sketches of the entire Piombino coastline, The Arno River and its Watersheds with its extraordinary aerial perspective, showing the river, with its vein-like tributaries and intricate drainage patterns curving its way through the mountains near Pisa down to the marchlands of the Chiana valley and one, of the City of Imola. The unprecedented accuracy of this map, based on his odometer readings, was critical, as Imola was an important military base for Borgia.
In 1508 he sketched an octant projection and in 1514 made an octant world map, the first known example of its time. His lifelong map production had an unexpected result: they established da Vinci as a master of cartography, as nothing so precise had ever before been produced. (Ann C. Pizzorusso)

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