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The Shadow of Light: Leonardo's Mind by Candlelight

Paolo Galluzzi (Director, Museo Galileo, Florence)

Professor Paolo Galluzzi
Professor Paolo Galluzzi

The Italian Academy is pleased to present Professor Paolo Galluzzi, director of the Museo Galileo in Florence, in a lecture entitled The Shadow of Light: Leonardo’s Mind by Candlelight.
“Leonardo,” says Prof. Galluzzi, “records the extraordinary chain of thoughts triggered by the candle burning on his table, in a double folio in the Codex Atlanticus of c. 1508-10 – a fairly long and organic one, at least by Leonardo’s standards –titled On the motion of flame. The sequence of ingenious observations and penetrating reflections echoes experiments and analyses recorded in other manuscripts of the same years. Leonardo’s daring analogies offer a fascinating journey through his unified vision of man and the physical world, a vision reaching from natural philosophy to meteorology, from the ‘science of painting’ to cosmology, from anatomy to geology. The candle’s flame is transformed by Leonardo’s sharp eye into a powerful microscope that reveals the universal principles which govern all natural phenomena.”
An acclaimed and popular lecturer, Prof. Galluzzi has lectured and taught at the Universities of Siena and Florence, and at Harvard, Princeton, UCLA, and NYU as well as at the University of Hamburg, the Centre Koyré, at the Ecole des Haute Etudes (Paris).

Paolo Galluzzi has been Director of Florence’s Museo Galileo (formerly the Institute and Museum of the History of Science) since 1982. He is a member of the Royal Academy of Science in Stockholm and socio of the Accademia Nazionale dei Lincei. He is the author of more than 200 publications on the activity of the scientists and engineers of the Renaissance, on several aspects of science during the Renaissance and the Scientific Revolution, on scientific terminology, on the activities of Galileo and his school, on the history of the European scientific academies and on the birth and development of the historiography of science.


Lecture: Prof. Paolo Galluzzi on Leonardo

Event Date 
Wed, Mar 30, 2011, 6:00 pm to 8:00 pm

"The metaphor of the candle flame revealing the universal principles Leonardo perceived . . . was made all the more convincing by the speaker's evidence gleaned from Leonardo's manuscripts and paintings. . . . Wide-ranging discussion followed"
From AxesMundi blog coverage of Mar 30, 2011, of Prof. Paolo Galluzzi's lecture "The Shadow of Light: Leonardo's Mind by Candlelight"
Read more: reprint; original web page