Marco Versiero

«Il duca perse lo Stato...». At the origins of the modern concept of State: Leonardo da Vinci before Niccolò Machiavelli?

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Through a mapping of the main meanings of the word "state" in Machiavelli's "Prince", this essay aims at highlighting its the semantic and conceptual similarity with Leonardo da Vinci's three literary fragments, taken from a corpus of political reflections already studied by the author (alongside with the intellectual interchange between Leonardo and Machiavelli). In order to emphasize the manifest junction of word and image which characterizes da Vinci's style, the author proposes an iconologic link with a complex "Allegory of State" designed by him. The aim is to demonstrate that there is a relationship between da Vinci's occasional political writings and the "new language of politics" of the late XV and beginning of the XVI century. The existence of this relationship testifies of a widespread circulation of the early-modern (Macchiavellian) idea of "state".


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