And come men and see the miracles
which by these studies can be discovered in nature.

[Leonardo da Vinci]

The exhibition

The Botany of Leonardo. A vision of science bridging Art and Nature is an exhibition devised and produced by Aboca, in collaboration with the Municipality of Florence.

The exhibition outlines the philosophical and technological context of the time in which Leonardo da Vinci lived in order to explore his study of form and the processes of the Plant world in greater depth. Through his eyes as a “systemic” thinker, the connections between art, science and nature, as well as the relationships between different spheres of knowledge, are revealed.

The botany of Leonardo thus becomes a privileged perspective that opens up modern discourse on scientific evolution and ecological sustainability.

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The Dodecahedron

The geometric form of the Dodecahedron and the Mulberry tree are the two symbols of the exhibition “The Botany of Leonardo, A vision of science bridging art and nature, that will be held in the Santa Maria Novella complex in Florence from 13/09/2019 to 15/12/2019.

The Dodecahedron . For the ancient Greeks and Renaissance Neoplatonists, the Dodecahedron represented the entire universe, while the other Platonic polyhedra represented the four elements: earth (the cube), air (the octahedron), water (the icosahedron) and fire (the tetrahedron). Leonardo designed the polyhedra for Luca Pacioli’s manuscript De Divina Proportione (The Divine Proportion).

The Mulberry tree (Morus Alba L.) was one of the plants most beloved of Leonardo, who portrayed it as a sole theme in the Sala delle Asse (the room of the wooden boards) in Milan’s Sforza Castle.

Together, they represent the mystery of the connection between all things, a subject that fascinated Leonardo and inspired his work throughout the course of his life.

Curators of the Exhibition

The exhibition “The botany of Leonardo” is curated by Stefano Mancuso, a leading world authority in the field of plant neurobiology, Fritjof Capra, physicist, systems theorist and Leonardo scholar and Valentino Mercati, founder and president of Aboca.

The scientific coordination has been organised by Valentina Zucchi, MUS.E Firenze.

Leonardo da Vinci and Aboca

Aboca’s thinking is based on an understanding of a symbiosis that focuses on the relationship between man and the environment. Amazingly, that same thinking can also be found in Leonardo’s work, who over 500 years ago asked himself the same questions, on a path of discovery that still seems coherent and relevant today.

Aboca is an Italian healthcare company specialising in 100% natural products that work in harmony with the human body as well as the environment. They are products marked by innovation, research, quality and values. That’s why they can respond to human health needs in the most profound sense: treating people effectively today, while improving tomorrow’s quality of life.

Aboca is also a Benefit Corporation: the company is committed by its articles of association to working in a responsible, sustainable and transparent way towards the community, individuals and the environment and monitoring the resulting “communal benefits” annually.


By purchasing a ticket to the exhibition, you can access the entire Santa Maria Novella complex which includes: the Basilica with its frescoed chapels and Giotto’s Crucifix, the Sacristy and the Avelli cemetery; the Santa Maria Novella museum, with its Cloister of the Dead, the famous Green Cloister, the Spanish Chapel and the Ubriachi Chapel.

The locations

Even if destiny led him away from Florence at the end, throughout the course of his life Leonardo remained closely connected to this city. It is no coincidence that he referred to himself as the “Florentine Painter”. In this sense, one of the most significant places is right here in Santa Maria Novella.

Upcoming Events

For its opening and throughout the period of the exhibition, Aboca offers its visitors a programme of conferences to learn more about Leonardo’s thinking from a modern perspective.

A busy programme of events both in Florence and other cities in Italy, where together students and philosophers reflect on the extraordinary work of Leonardo da Vinci, interweaving the systemic thinking that he suggested five hundred years ago with insights from today.