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Apprentice sought for Leonardo da Vinci!
Following extensive efforts, the Project Development Center, PROGEM, has completed its 'Da Vinci Bridge Documentary', which tells the story of the Golden Horn bridge designed for Istanbul by the famous painter. The debate sparked by the project has continued with the release of the film, which proposes reviving the bridge by mounting a competition to motivate architects.
Regarded as the greatest artist the world has ever seen, Leonardo da Vinci describes the bridge he designed for the Golden Horn in a letter he wrote to the Ottoman Sultan Beyazıd II. Arriving in Istanbul in 1502, the letter languished for centuries in a remote corner of the imperial archives. Only in 1952, exactly 450 years from the date it was received, was it finally understood to have come from Leonardo.
The two different drawings, one of which is a bird's-eye view, are explained in detail in Leonardo's own hand: “The bridge, which stretches from Pera to Constantinople, is 40 braccia (1 meter = 1.64 braccia) wide, 70 braccia high above the water, and 600 braccia long, in other words, 400 braccia over the water and 200 over land, and thus has its own abutments.”
Once it was realized that the drawings, designed to be the biggest and most beautiful bridge ever seen in the world to that day, were by Leonardo da Vinci, the question arose as to whether or not it could actually be constructed. In the end, it was a Norwegian artist, Vebjörn Sand, who first introduced this bridge to the world. In 2001 in the town of Aas near Oslo, Sand had the bridge built, at one-fourth its original size, as a highway overpass. The same artist later drew attention to the problem of global warming by fashioning a model of the bridge out of ice at the South Pole. And last new year's, he created the same bridge, again out of ice, this time on the square in front of the United Nations Headquarters in New York City, his aim again to draw attention to the modern crisis of global warming.
The Da Vinci Bridge Documentary argues that it behooves Turkey to revive the bridge project and proposes that a competition, open to all the world's architects, be mounted to this end. What architect doesn't dream of entering a competition in memory of Leonardo da Vinci? Of becoming, if you will, the great master's 'apprentice'?