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Matthew Landrus

History of Art Department and Faculty of History


Dr Matthew Landrus examines intersections of the practical arts and natural philosophy during the fourteenth through eighteenth centuries. As a specialist on the working methods and intellectual interests of artist/engineers, he addresses cross-disciplinary solutions to investigative and inventive developments in the histories of ideas, science and technology. Much of this work addresses the histories of artisan notebooks and the art academy. Although a specialist on Leonardo da Vinci, Landrus also studies Anglo-Saxon manuscripts, historiography, paradoxes in visual culture, and the histories of aesthetics, figural proportions and colonial culture.

For an exhibition at the Biblioteca Ambrosiana in 2013, he is writing a catalogue on Leonardo da Vinci’s research for a treatise on mechanical engineering. Landrus’ other work on Leonardo includes: Leonardo da Vinci’s Giant Crossbow (2010), Le armi e le macchine da guerra: il De re militari di Leonardo (2010), and The World of Leonardo da Vinci (2006). For an essay on the Codex Huygens, he studies what remains in this volume and in other records of Leonardo’s lost treatise on human proportions and movements. This is part of a larger project to reconstruct elements of Leonardo’s treatise programme, along with its context, development, form and organization. Two additional directions of this research extend to the uses of proportion theories in early modern visual and technical arts, as well as history of representations of human proportions.