Florence, May 2019 – In order to mark the Artigianato e Palazzo event, which hosts the city’s very best craftsmen each year in the magnificent gardens of Palazzo Corsini, Giusto Manetti Battiloro decided to pay tribute to Leonardo da Vinci on the 500th anniversary of his death.
The great artist and experimenter is known for having made the earliest attempt at mechanising the gold beating trade. The importance of this noble and ancient art, which has already been extensively documented in Ancient Egypt and in Ancient Greece and Rome, culminated in Florence during the Renaissance. Leonardo was fascinated by the transformation of gold into gold leaf, and with the aim of improving the artisans’ working conditions and increasing their workshops’ productivity, he designed a machine capable of reducing the precious metal’s thickness (from 500 to 30 microns).
The Manetti family, which was already working with gold during Leonardo’s era, decided to pay tribute to the Master’s intuition by rebuilding his famous machine based on the drawings contained in the Codex Atlanticus: a masterpiece of mechanical engineering designed for the production of the sheets used to make gold leaf (then also widely used for weaving valuable brocades), as well as medals and coins.