What did da Vinci read? Stanford historian searche...

What did da Vinci read? Stanford historian searches the stacks Oct. 22 at free MTSU lecture

promo for fall2019 Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture at MTSU with guest Dr. Paula Findlen, speaking on “Leonardo's Library: How a Renaissance Artist Discovered the Meaning of Books” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 24

A scholar who studies early modern Europe and the history of science will share her research into the reading habits of the ultimate Renaissance Man, Leonardo da Vinci, at MTSU Tuesday, Oct. 22, at this fall’s free Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture.

MTSU fall 2019 Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture poster

Click on the poster to see a larger version.

Dr. Paula Findlen, the Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History at Stanford University, will speak on “Leonardo’s Library: How a Renaissance Artist Discovered the Meaning of Books” at 6:30 p.m. Oct. 22 in the Tennessee Room in MTSU’s James Union Building, 516 Alma Mater Drive.

A 5:30 p.m. reception in the JUB lobby will precede her talk, and a book signing will follow at 7:30.

A campus map is available at Guests who park in the Ingram Lots at 2269 Middle Tennessee Blvd. can ride a shuttle to the JUB from 5 to 6:30 p.m. and back after the lecture until 8:30 p.m.

A handicapped-accessible entrance is available at the JUB, and the university will provide American Sign Language interpretation for the event.

During her MTSU lecture, Findlen will discuss the range of da Vinci’s interests and how the books he read shaped his development as an artist and scientist. Her research on da Vinci’s reading helped her create a special exhibit for Stanford’s Green Library, “Leonardo’s Library: The World of a Renaissance Reader.”

Findlen, former director of Stanford’s Suppes Center for the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology, has taught at the university since 1996.

Dr. Paula Findlen, Ubaldo Pierotti Professor of Italian History at Stanford University

Dr. Paula Findlen

Her research and teaching focuses on how modern science, medicine and technology arose during the Renaissance, especially in Italy, and how the era changed humanity’s understanding of nature.

She earned her master’s and doctoral degrees at the University of California, Berkeley, and is the recipient of prestigious fellowships from the American Council for Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Guggenheim Foundation and the Getty Foundation, and multiple academic awards, including the international Premio Galileo Galilei, presented only once a decade, for her contributions to understanding Italian culture.

Findlen is the editor, co-editor and author of numerous books, including “Florence after the Medici: Tuscan Enlightenment, 1737-1790,” “Empires of Knowledge: Scientific Networks in the Early Modern World” and “Early Modern Things: Objects and their Histories, 1500-1800.”

MTSU Strickland Visiting Scholar Lecture Series logo (including Department of History)Her essays have appeared in The Nation, and she provided historical context and commentary as a consultant for the BBC and Starz networks fantasy drama “Da Vinci’s Demons.”

MTSU’s Department of History sponsors the twice-a-year Strickland Lecture series. The Strickland Visiting Scholar program allows MTSU students to meet with renowned scholars whose expertise spans a variety of historical issues.

The Strickland family established the program in memory of Roscoe Lee Strickland Jr., a longtime professor of European history at MTSU and the first president of the university’s Faculty Senate.

For more information about this lecture, please contact MTSU’s Department of History at 615-898-5798 or visit

— Gina E. Fann (