Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) was a painter, sculptor, inventor, philosopher and researcher. He is renowned as the original ‘Renaissance Man’. ‘I will preserve the memory of myself in the minds of others’ was one of his maxims. Among his most famous works of art are the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and the Vitruvian Man. He left an extensive collection of handwritten documents in his notebooks. These books, known as codices, survive in various volumes such as the Codex Atlanticus, Codex Madrid, Codex Trivulzianus etc.). They include sketches of ground-breaking inventions as well as studies and commentaries which span the gamut of human study. The left-handed da Vinci wrote the texts in mirror writing. Through wars and other upheavals, the documents were scattered throughout Europe and much of his work disappeared. Leonardo da Vinci wanted to leave a kind of encyclopaedia for posterity and, although it is estimated that up to 80% of his manuscripts were lost, some 6,000 individual documents survive to this day, the contents of which in many cases were only understood centuries later.