Who we are

Artes Mechanicae is a research center which focuses on the study of the history of science and technology, characterized by an interdisciplinary approach which integrates traditional historiographical methods with analysis, classification and visualization tools borrowed from engineering and information technology.

Artes Mechanicae’s activity is directed by a committee of international scientists who specialize in various historical-humanistic and scientific-engineering disciplines and who continuously promote their research in conferences and workshops.

Artes Mechnaicae promotes a technical-scientific culture through exhibits, museographical consultation, restoration, written works and reconstructed scientific machine and tool models which remain faithful to their philology.

Tirari e Alzari

Tirari and alzari are Italian terms used in the Late Medieval and renaissance periods for vertical and horizontal traction systems:  cranes, column raisers, obelisk movers, winches, tackles, etc.., all of the “engines” that an engineer had to know in his profession.


The book


The book "Tirari e Alzari" traces the history of cranes from antiquity to Renaissance, providing a key to combining philological interpretation and engineering analysis. Leonardo da Vinci is a focal point: his manuscripts constitute some of the most important testimonies of these machines’ history for their innovation and for his studies of other engineers’ solutions, such as the spectacular crane models from those he studied on the construction site of Filippo Brunelleschi’s dome of the Florence cathedral.


The exhibition


Tirari e Alzari exhibits some of the primary models of cranes and weight positioning systems that influenced the development of these technologies.


The cranes


Each model is the result of a philological study which starts from sources, their historical location and, passing through a careful engineering study, arrives to one or more of reconstruction hypothesis of the machine; it is presented through a physical model made considering the techniques and materials of the time, 3D models and  animations.




ArtesMechanicae deals with the study of the history of science and technology with an interdisciplinary approach, using a variety of sources, a wide variety of tools and always involving the largest possible number of different competences. Such researches lead to publication of articles, essays and books which always receive great attention from academic circles, and are capable of arousing considerable interest in the general public.


ArtesMechanicae's models at Louvre Museum in Paris

ArtesMechanicae's models at Louvre Museum in Paris

Artes Mechanicae presents two flying machines models along with some coming from the Museo Leonardiano in Vinci at the Louvre Auditorium in the framework of the lecture series "24h avec Lèonard de Vinci" on 19 and 20 september 2015.

The conference held by Professor Pascal Brioist of the University of Tours, dedicated to the theme of flight, will focus on the new interpretations by ArtesMechanicae of the glider and the parachute designed by Leonardo.



Evening Lecture Around Leonardo in St. Peter's Parish in Gropina

Evening Lecture Around Leonardo in St. Peter's Parish in Gropina

In the very impressive scenery of the Gropina Romanesque parish in the village of Loro Ciuffenna (AR) Andrea Bernardoni and Marco Versiero had a talk entitled Leonardo artist and engineer. They contextualized the main artistic and engineering events in Leonardo's career under the light of most recent historiographical contributions prepared for the exhibition Leonardo Vinci 1452-1519 held at the Palazzo Reale in Milan from April 16 to July 19, 2015.

Ateliers du Campus Condorcet (Paris) - 7 giugno 2016 - "La maquette, so what? "

Ateliers du Campus Condorcet (Paris) - 7 giugno 2016 - "La maquette, so what? "

The 7th of june 2016 the third session of hte seminars program 2015-2016 of the Campus Condorcet (Paris) titled "La reconstitution - processus heuristique et/ou objet de médiation ?", in collaboration with the Centre Alexandre Koyré (CNRS-EHESS-MNHN), SAPRAT (EPHE), ILJ-CEDRIC (Cnam), CTHS (Ecole Nationale des Chartes), CEMS (CNRS-EHESS), IDHES (Université d’Evry-Val d’Essonne & Université de Paris 8), SPHERE (CNRS-Paris7), and the Direction générale des patrimoines (DGP/DPRPS). ArtesMechanicae participated to the session, titled "La maquette, so what ?", with the talk "The analysis of ancient machines through the integration of traditional knowledge and modern techniques/ L'analyse des ...

International Symposium on Al-Jazary. The Bright Age Shown as Dark, 13-14 May, Mardin University

International Symposium on Al-Jazary. The Bright Age Shown as Dark, 13-14 May, Mardin University

The Artuklu University of Mardin in Turkey organized an international symposium on Al-Jazari, arab scientist and engineer. Along two days the machines drawn in The Book of Knowledge of Ingenious Mechanical Devices (Al-Jami 'Bayna' l-'ilm wa-'l-'amal al-Nafi 'fi sinat'at al-hiyal) were analysed and historically contestualized. Artes Mechanicae presented a paper titled Leonardo and mechanics in the Renaissance, in which Andrea Bernardoni analyzed some Leonardo's engineering aspect and Leonardo's projects for the Sultan Bayazid II.