Codex Leicester, 31v

On folio 6A-31v in the Codex Leicester, Leonardo examines the movement of the tides in the rivers and seas of Europe, and considers hypotheses regarding the existence of water flowing through watercourses and veins between layers of rock deep in the earth and on mountain summits. His notes include observations on the action of water on rocks – from stones on the beach that are rounded and polished smooth by the tide, to rocks that, as they are carried by rivers from mountain tops down to the sea, are gradually reduced to gravel, sand and mud. Leonardo cites as examples not only the Adda, the Ticino, the Adige, and the Oglio, all rivers originating in the Italian Alps, but also Elba Island, the Arno River and the Montalbano, near Montelupo and Capraia, “… where the enormous rocks are all of congealed gravel, in different stones and colours.

Texts by
Alessandro Vezzosi, in collaboration with Agnese Sabato / English translation by Lisa Chien