Writing in Leonardo’s Code 

Much has been made of the fact that Leonardo wrote in Italian using a special kind of shorthand that he invented himself, but people who study his notebooks are puzzled by something else, as well. He often used “mirror writing,” starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left. Only when he was writing something intended for other people did he write in the normal direction. 

Contemporaries of Leonardo record that they saw him write and paint left handed. He also made sketches showing his own left hand at work. Being a lefty was highly unusual in Leonardo's time. Because people were superstitious, children who naturally started to write and draw using their left hands were forced to learn to use their right hands instead.

Try it yourself

Type a word or phrase (without punctuation) in the box below and click "Leonardo's Style" to see what it may have looked like if he had written it.



 


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