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Seattle To Display Da Vinci Codex

Leonardo da Vinci’s manuscript of scientific work known as the Codex Leicester, which is owned by Microsoft chairman Bill Gates, will be on display at the Seattle Art Museum next fall, the museum’s director said Monday.

Gates paid $30.8 million for the manuscript two years ago at an auction. Its previous owner was the late oil tycoon Armand Hammer.

The five-century-old Codex, which is composed of 18 double pages of writing and 360 pen-and-ink drawings, is being exhibited at American Museum of Natural History in New York through Jan. 1. It will be taken to Paris before beginning its Seattle run in October.

The Codex contains da Vinci’s thoughts and experiments on the movement of water, how tides affect the Earth and sky, and the physics of bridges.

Seattle museum director Mimi Gardner Gates said the Codex will be shown with other works by da Vinci, and artists influenced by him, and will show his artistic and cultural contributions as well as his scientific achievements.

Gardner Gates, who this fall married William Gates Jr., father of Bill Gates, said she has wanted to exhibit the Codex since Gates purchased it in 1994.

The Codex Leicester was written between 1506 and 1510. It was owned by the descendants of the Earl of Leicester for centuries, and was purchased for $5.6 million in 1980 by Hammer.