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The problem as to what form of church might answer the requirements of acoustics seems to have engaged Leonardo's very particular attention. The designation of "teatro" given to some of these sketches, clearly shows which plan seemed to him most favourable for hearing the preacher's voice.
Pl. XCVII, No. 1 (MS. B, 52). Rectangular edifice divided into three naves with an apse on either side, terminated by a semicircular theatre with rising seats, as in antique buildings. The pulpit is in the centre. Leonardo has written on the left side of the sketch: "teatro da predicare" (Theatre for preaching).
MS. B, 55a (see page 56, Fig. 1). A domed church after the type of Pl. XCV, No. 1, shows four theatres occupying the apses and facing the square "coro" (choir), which is in the centre between the four pillars of the dome. 381 The rising arrangement of the seats is shown in the sketch above. At the place marked B Leonardo wrote teatri per uldire messa (rows of seats to hear mass), at T teatri, and at C coro (choir).
In MS. C.A. 260, are slight sketches of two plans for rectangular choirs and two elevations of the altar and pulpit which seem to be in connection with these plans.
In MS. Ash II, 8a (see p. 56 and 57. Fig. 2 and 3). "Locho dove si predica" (Place for preaching). A most singular plan for a building. The interior is a portion of a sphere, the centre of which is the summit of a column destined to serve as the preacher's pulpit. The inside is somewhat
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like a modern theatre, whilst the exterior and the galleries and stairs recall the ancient amphitheatres.
Page 57, Fig. 4. A plan accompanying the two preceding drawings. If this gives the complete form Leonardo intended for the edifice, it would
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comprised only about two thirds of the circle. Leonardo wrote in the centre "fondamento", a word he often employed for plans, and on the left side of the view of the exterior: locho dove si predicha (a place for preaching in).
55:381 1: The note teatro de predicar, on the right side is, I believe, in the handwriting of Pompeo Leoni. J. P. R.