The Botany of Leonardo at the Uffizi Gallery

The Botany of Leonardo at the Uffizi Gallery

Leonardo was the forefather of modern science. His pioneering studies established a benchmark not only for landscape painting but also for various kinds of sciences, from botany to anatomy. The Uffizi Gallery permanently displays three of his most celebrated artworks.


Leonardo da Vinci’s inquisitive and relentlessly curious mind is very well known to be one of the reasons this Renaissance genius is now universally regarded as the forerunner of modern science. Over the years, Leonardo was fascinated with the wonders of the natural world, which he endlessly observed and sketched. As early as 1490, while he was working at the Milan court of Ludovico Sforza, he began a series of notebooks devoted entirely to scientific inquiry, such as optics or the behavior of light, water and air. These books are now the forefathers of modern lab books. 

Leonardo jotted down his observations and made sketches of plants, animals and even fossils. His geological and botanical interests led him to analyze land formation, making the first modern speculations about the origin of mountains, as well as successfully depict the variety of natural forms. Challenging old-fashioned theories and pseudo-sciences like alchemy, Leonardo da Vinci’s mind strikes us for its absolute modernity . His drawings are not just ways to present the natural world but to understand the forces and processes behind natural science. 

From the Lady with an Ermine to the Virgin of the Rocks, Leonardo always paid extreme attention to the depiction of the natural landscape as if nature wasn't just a mere backdrop to set human actions, as it was usually the case in Florentine religius art, but an integral part of the scene itself. As Walter Isaacson has brillantly pointed out in his monumental book Leonardo Da Vinci: The Biography, Leonardo's curiosity was "omnivorous" and his ability to discern patterns and analogies across disciplines is perfectly shown in his masterpieces. 

We would like to remind our readers that Leonardo's fascinating art is always visible at the Uffizi Gallery, in a specific section where The Baptism of Christ, the Adoration of the Magi and the Annunciation are displayed. All info on how to book a private tour with us here

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