Florence, November 24 - Leonardo da Vinci's famed Codex Leicester is set to return to Italy after over 20 years. The codex will be loaned by its owner Bill Gates to the Uffizi Gallery in Florence which will put it on show from October next year until January 2019 in the run-up to 2019's 500th anniversary of the death of the Tuscan genius, Uffizi Director Eike Schmidt said Friday. The manuscript, which mainly treats scientific subjects, was bought by Gates in 1994 who paid American oil tycoon Armand Hammer some 30.8 billion dollars for it. It is coming back to Italy on the basis of an agreement, Schmidt said, "on which intense work was done since 2015, when the Codex was shown in Minneapolis". The last time the Codex was shown in Italy was in 1995, at Palazzo Querini Dubois a Venice. Its last appearance in Florence was in 1982, when it was the focus of a monographic show that attracted huge crowds. The Codex Leicester (also briefly known as Codex Hammer) is named after Thomas Coke, later created Earl of Leicester, who purchased it in 1719. Of Leonardo's 30 scientific journals, the Codex may be the most famous of all. The manuscript currently holds the record for the second highest sale price of any book, as it was sold to Microsoft founder Gates at Christie's auction house on 11 November 1994 in New York for US$30,802,500 (equivalent to $49,772,200 in today's money). The Codex provides an insight into the inquiring mind of the definitive Renaissance artist, scientist and thinker as well as an exceptional illustration of the link between art and science and the creativity of the scientific process. The original title of Leonardo's notebook may have been On the Nature, Weight and Motion of Water. The Codex has been described by exhibit curators as a "booklet of notes, observations and experiments for strictly personal use". Physically, it consists of 72 handwritten pages bound in red leather, containing 360 diagrams and drawings relating to Leonardo's experiments in hydraulics, geology, paleontology, mechanics and astronomy, as well as speculative designs for such then-unheard-of inventions as the submarine and the diving mask.
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