While forming part of the exhibition The mind of Leonardo. The Universal Genius at work, presented contemporaneously in the Uffizi Gallery, this section represents a real "show within a show"; and this above all for the presence of over 30 autograph folios containing Leonardo’s splendid drawings. These priceless documents – many of them never before exhibited in Italy – illustrate Leonardo’s tireless activity in Florence from 1504 to 1506, in the midst of his fervent commitment to the project for the Battle of Anghiari, revealing the unitary vision distinctive of his efforts to master a variety of fields of knowledge, that we perceived today as irremediably separate from one another.
While he was defining the complex conception of the Battle and experimenting with new techniques for painting it, Leonardo was also engaged in a series of innovative scientific studies and highly ambitious technical projects, so vast in scope as to make it almost unthinkable that they were conceived by the mind of one man alone: studies on anatomy, on channeling the Arno, on optics, mechanics, geometry, on the flight of birds, and so on. Each of these a highly specialized sphere of research, but all confronted with the synthetic approach distinctive of Leonardo’s mind, tenaciously endeavouring to decipher the few universal principles that govern all the wondrous operations of nature and of man.