Leonardo da Vinci and The Armenian Architecture

Leonardo da Vinci and The Armenian ArchitectureThe brilliant representative of the Renaissance Leonardo da Vinci was a fan of Armenian art, as evidenced by his “Armenian letters”, which are included in the manuscript “Atlantic Codex Atlanticus”.

He used many of its techniques in his work. His sketches brought from Armenia allow us to draw a conclusion that he was one of the first (if not the very first) to accept the techniques of Armenian architecture (in particular, the form of dome structures).

Here’s what Armenian writer Gostan Zarian wrote about this: “It was under his influence that Bramante abandoned the Gothic style and accepted the principles of Armenian architecture that later gave a new direction to the construction of the Cathedral of St. Peter.

Meeting and cooperation of Bramante with Leonardo, who came from the East and brought the drawings of the Armenian churches, seems to have happened by fate. Bramante subsequently used the principles of Armenian architecture.”

Leonardo admired the Armenian medieval miniature as well as Armenian paints. He brought with him some kind of dark yellow (light brown) paint, which had been not used in Europe before.

It is also very interesting that he brought a little of the Armenian soil with him. A number of researchers of Leonardo da Vinci’s activity –  Richter, Josef Strzygowski, and others – consider his description of the mountains and the upper Euphrates documentary.

Also, according to the evidence of Gostan Zarian, in the “Armenian letters”, we can see the descriptions of what happened to Leonardo during his stay in Armenia (for example, how he and local residents lived through natural disasters).

Richter believed that Leonardo was in the service of the Egyptian Sultan as an engineer. A number of researchers agree with this proposition and consider it to be quite natural. However, Leonardo has constantly mentioned Armenia but has never written about Egypt.

On the right side of one sheet in the “Armenian Letters” is a series of short phrases united by the heading “The Division of a Book”. Here, we can see a very significant point: Leonardo intended to transfer all his impressions of Armenia, feelings, and even worries into a separate book.


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