Bow with knife cutwater

Bow with knife cutwater

Bow with knife cutwater

Inv. 6668
Interpretation by Luigi Tursini, 1952 - 1953

"These 3 ships of equal width, length and depth, being moved by equal powers, will generate various speeds of motion, but the ship that sends its widest part before, it is faster and is similar to the figure of birds and greater fishes."

Leonardo made a comparison of two ship’s prows, in consideration of his numerous studies in hydraulics and fluid dynamics. The two hulls are differentiated by their cutwaters, the bow connection of the two sides of the keel. One is in the shape of a knife, the other, of a bulb. Leonardo intuites that, at high speeds, the bulbous cutwater performs better than the straight one.

The model is based on the drawing:

  • Manuscript G f. 50 v. (1510-1515)
    Paris, Institut de France