Leonardo Da Vinci, possibly the most revered artist of all time, served as illustrator for Pacioli, and may have designed or illustrated this 1500 chess treatise. It was a startling discovery, in 2006, that this treatise still existed. Long lost, in an enormous private library, this moment in chess history had been written off as forever irretrievable.
Leonardo had seldom mentioned chess in his writings, and not much was known of his involvement with the King of Games. But in 1499, Leonardo fled with his friend Luca Pacioli (the great mathematician, now known as the father of accounting), as French forces stormed in to sieze the city of Milan.
The Countess Isabella d'Este, a lover of chess and of fine chessmen, took them in to her estate in Manua -- and they were two gentlemen who knew how to show their gratitude. For his part, Leonardo drew a famous sketch of the Countess, which was adapted to be used in a painting. And Luca Pacioli wrote a book for her, De Ludo Scachorum (On the Game of Chess). Because of their shared living quarters and shared destiny; because Leonardo had already illustrated Pacioli's book on "the Divine Proportion"; because some of the illustrations are shown to be drawn with the left hand -- all of these circumstances have convinced researches that Leonardo must have known, handled, or even drawn the chessmen shown in Pacioli's book. De Luco Scachorum is literally filled with illustrations of this exotic Renaissance chess set.
Over 100 sketches of chess positions give clues as to the the exact aspects of the chessmen. By considering the many hints and suggestions encoded into these quickly drawn iconic figures, we have fleshed these images out into full three-dimensional forms -- allowing you to behold a set of chessmen in a style that lay buried for over 500 years. Beyond the illustrations themselves, we have relied on all known evidence of chessmen and of the aesthetics that guided Italian craftsmen in the year 1500. Our reproduction, amazing though it may be to the modern eye, is faithful to pervading style of the High Renaissance.
Observe the tasteful curves and details that accentuate the handsome, solid form of each piece. DETAILS OF THE CHESSMEN AND CHESSBOARD. Note that this is a new Second Edition of this set.The pieces have been re-designed, to even more accurately represent the forms of the original manuscript. These chessmen are crafted of boxwood and finished with a matte enamel coating. The king stands 3 1/2 inches high. The pieces are felted and weighted. The high quality chessboard has a veneer covering of genuine briar wood, stained red and black, with a frameless black veneer edge, finished with a high gloss protective coating.
The board measures 40 cm (15¾ inches) on each side, with 5 cm approx. FULL SET OF 32 CHESSMEN AND BOARD INCLUDED. The manuscript pages shown in the pictures are not included -- they are to show the original source of the design. Board is reference number 50400BR.
A page from Pacioli's book, showing an interesting variation on the initial array of pieces. (manuscript pages not included in this sale). Note that an knight has been placed in the lower left corner, to demonstrate.
The famous'knight's tour', shown by the numbers printed on the board. Note the curious variety in the depiction of pieces, allowing many clues as to the actual forms. The item "LEONARDO DA VINCI CHESS SET (c. 1500) with HIGH GLOSS RED BRIAR BOARD (812)" is in sale since Friday, August 10, 2018.
This item is in the category "Toys & Hobbies\Games\Chess\Contemporary Chess". The seller is "rickofricks" and is located in Sarasota, Florida. This item can be shipped worldwide.