A genius for all time, Leonardo da Vinci contributed artistic masterpieces, spectacular inventions, and scientific research to Western culture.This beautifully illustrated volume reconstructs the origin of one of the most fascinating and fundamental aspects of Leonardo's life and work: his dream of human flight. With masterfully reproduced drawings from his vast library of manuscripts and folios—especially from the Codex "On the Flight of Birds" and the Codex "Atlanticus"—this book traces the development of Leonardo's theories and experiments over time. Detailed descriptions and unique readings of these exquisite sketches, letters, and notes reveal the inner workings of the artist-scientist. Leonardo on Flight begins with the drawings from his years in Florence making theatrical devices ( ingegni) and then moves to the marvelous flying machine—the ornithopter—constructed in Milan during the same period he completed The Last Supper and the equestrian statue Francesco Sforza for Duke Ludovic il Moro . After 1500, Leonardo's work returned to nature and focused on the flight of birds, the dynamic potential of the human body, and the physics of wind. The final chapter of the book considers the last years of Leonardo's life and his escape into theory and whimsical experiments such as flying wax figurines, inflated bullocks' intestines, and automatons.