The Five Faces Of Leonardo

Episodes

EpisodeTitleFirst
Broadcast
Comments
01Leonardo's Heart20190429

Papworth heart surgeon Francis Wells examines the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci as an anatomist.

His interest in the Renaissance artist and polymath has not only impacted on his work as a surgeon but also inspired him to write a book, The Heart of Leonardo, with the support of the Royal Collection.

Windsor Castle houses 64 pages of anatomical drawings and writings in its print room - a selection of which have been on loan for temporary exhibitions to 12 art galleries in the UK, culminating in a major exhibition at the Queens Gallery in London in May 2019. Art historian Martin Clayton, who is head of prints and drawings for the Royal Collection, has been curating the exhibitions.

Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Samir Shah

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Heart surgeon Francis Wells examines what Leonardo\u2019s anatomical drawings tell us today.

Leonardo da Vinci's virtuosity is re-examined through the eyes of contemporary experts.

02Leonardo's City20190430

Melissa Sterry, the design scientist behind the concept of Bionic City, visits Milan to discover the genius of Leonardo Da Vinci.

For Melissa, the trip is as much about the legacy Leonardo has left to urban planning as it is about seeing his iconic painting The Last Supper. She visits some of the most important Da Vinci sites in Milan including the Ambrosiana Library which houses the largest collection of Leonardo's drawings and writings, and the Codex Atlanticus focussing on his talents as engineer, scientist and inventor.

Melissa discovers a connection with the Renaissance polymath in the use of the natural world to influence built environments.

Meanwhile at Windsor Castle print room, which houses another of the world's major collection of Leonardo papers, head of prints and drawings Martin Clayton shows maps which demonstrate his city planning talents.

Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Samir Shah

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Bionic City design scientist Melissa Sterry visits Milan to assess Da Vinci\u2019s legacy.

Leonardo Da Vinci's virtuosity is re-examined through the eyes of contemporary experts.

03Leonardo At War20190501

Military historian David Willey examines Leonardo Da Vinci's ambition to realise a career as a military engineer in the court of the Duke of Milan.

Curator of the Tank Museum in Dorset, David examines how Leonardo attempted to address the age-old needs of a soldier for protection, mobility and fire-power through an early design of a tank-like machine - housed at the British Library where Renaissance prints and drawings curator Sarah Vowles takes up the story. Sarah shows the small but detailed drawing which has led art historians and engineers to conclude it is one of the first designs for an armoured vehicle.

At the Tank Museum, there is a chance to experience the inside of today's fighting machine, while at the National Science and Technology Museum in Milan there is a spectacular exhibition of attempts to build models of Leonardo's military designs.

Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Samir Shah

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Historian David Willey looks at Leonardo Da Vinci\u2019s military achievements.

Leonardo da Vinci's virtuosity is re-examined through the eyes of contemporary experts.

04Leonardo's Robots20190502

Robots may be 21st Century, but the concept of a "mechanised human" has been around since Leonardo Da Vinci's time when he designed futurist automatons for entertainment and to impress at court.

In the 1990s, mechanical engineer and roboticist Mark Rosheim was amongst the first to build working models of Leonardo's designs - such as a self-driving cart which he documented in his book Leonardo's Lost Robots.

Since then, there have been many attempts to realise Leonardo's designs, including a life size lion rebuilt by Mario Teddei, technical director at the World of Leonardo Museum, Milan. The lion was used as an act of diplomacy between the Florentines and France when it opened up its chest to present a bouquet of lilies to the King.

To create authentic movement through a mechanism of cogs and pulleys, Leonardo was inspired by nature and, in particular, his anatomical studies where he would analyse animal and human movement with an engineer's eye. This approach has inspired present day work on 21st Century robots at research centres such as the Bristol Robotics Centre at the University of West England.

Other contributors include Oxford University's Matthew Landrus and Ben Russell of the Science Museum who curated an exhibition on Robots in 2017.

Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Samir Shah

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Roboticist Mark Rosheim on Da Vinci\u2019s world of automatons and court entertainment.

Leonardo da Vinci's virtuosity is re-examined through the eyes of contemporary experts.

05Flight Of Imagination20190503

Cartoonist Ralph Steadman started his working life as an apprentice with the aeronautical firm De Havilland. He had been fascinated by flight and Leonardo since a small boy and, even when his career took a different turn, he pursued his interest through an illustrated book.

I-Leonardo tells of the Renaissance polymath's life and, in particular, his many attempts to design a flying machine. A fan of Steadman and his book, head of prints and drawings for the Royal Collection Martin Clayton took time out from curating exhibitions of Leonardo's work to visit the cartoonist at his Kent home.

Despite a keen understanding from observing birds and other flying creatures, Leonardo never achieved his dream to fly - although he inspired many of the pioneers of flight and those who fly today. Philip Whiteman, editor of Pilot Magazine, talks about the joy of flying and introduces us to some early planes and aeronautical sports which have remarkable similarities to Leonardo's designs, even though the technology and aeronautical engineering wasn't available to get them off the ground.

Producer: Sara Parker
Executive Producer: Samir Shah

A Juniper Connect production for BBC Radio 4

Ralph Steadman shares his passion for flying and Leonardo.

Leonardo da Vinci's virtuosity is re-examined through the eyes of contemporary experts.