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Drawings from the Codex Atlanticus were used by a Polish pianist to resurrect the 'mythical' instrument

Leonardo painting plot accused cleared

Five men were today cleared of being part of a plot to extort £4.25 million for the return of a stolen Leonardo da Vinci masterpiece.

Collection of manuscripts expected to fetch £16 million

An "outstanding" collection of illuminated manuscripts previously owned by kings, bishops and the aristocracy is expected to fetch up to £16 million when it goes under the hammer.

Birmingham Contemporary Music Group, Wigmore Hall, London<br/>Psappha, Kings Place, London <br/>Takacs Quartet, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Poetry by a painter, foxtrots on the harpsichord &ndash; music is turned topsy-turvy by a radical ensemble

The National Gallery: An Illustrated History, By Alan Crookham

Archivist Alan Crookham takes us from the gallery's birth in 1838 ( with its sum collection of 38 works) to the appointment of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, its first director, whose grand tour around Europe to amass artworks may leave the current incumbent, Nicholas Penny, green-eyed with envy.

The secret of Mona Lisa's smile is revealed in Manchester

An exhibition celebrating the inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci opened at Manchester's Museum of Science and Industry over the weekend.

Academics hope history in video games spurs interest

Portraying Leonardo da Vinci or World War II in a video game is challenging game developers to mix fun with facts while academics hope this growing genre will get players more interested in history.

Observations: New Renaissance at the V&amp;A

The V&A's new Medieval and Renaissance Galleries, which take up a whole wing of the museum, will finally open on 2 December. Featuring the notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci, the Becket Casket, thought to have contained his relics, and dramatic Italian sculptures by Donatello, as well as Gothic altarpieces and 13th-century French stained glass windows this is the V&A's most extravagant project since the British Galleries opened in 2001. It has cost 30m.

My Secret Life: VV Brown, singer, 25

My parents were ... business savvy, passionate, eccentric and loving. For 26 years they've owned and run a private school in Northamptonshire.

The top ten most pirated eBooks of 2009

Don’t look at this list if you want to believe that the Internet is feeding a hunger for a deeper kind of learning. The 10 books most downloaded on BitTorrent (a free file-sharing application) this year do not include titles by Victor Hugo or Emily Brontë (or even Dan Brown or J.K. Rowling).

'Mona Lisa' comes to life in high-tech art exhibit

For centuries, Leonardo da Vinci's "Mona Lisa" and her enigmatic smile have inspired as much speculation as admiration. Now she's ready to answer questions - in Mandarin.

'Frustrated' Russian throws cup at Mona Lisa

A Russian woman frustrated at failing to obtain French nationality hurled a ceramic cup at the Mona Lisa but did not damage Leonardo da Vinci's famed portrait, a spokesman for the Louvre Museum said today.

Pride of Da Vinci's genius walks again after 500 years

This king of the jungle was created to flatter a king of France. Now Leonardo's amazing feat of engineering has been given new life by an Italian designer, to roars of approval. John Lichfield reports

Brown in pole position to finish top of the class

Macalister Bryan meets a young man who is learning to handle pressures on the track and back at school

E3: New PlayStation 3 titles push the limits

There were some big surprises in the PlayStation 3 game line-up revealed today at E3 - good news for SCEA, obviously still smarting from PSPgate.

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Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
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Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
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Fishing for votes with Nigel Farage: The Ukip leader shows how he can work an audience as he casts his line to the disaffected of Grimsby

Fishing is on Nigel Farage's mind

Ukip leader casts a line to the disaffected
Who is bombing whom in the Middle East? It's amazing they don't all hit each other

Who is bombing whom in the Middle East?

Robert Fisk untangles the countries and factions
China's influence on fashion: At the top of the game both creatively and commercially

China's influence on fashion

At the top of the game both creatively and commercially
Lord O’Donnell: Former cabinet secretary on the election and life away from the levers of power

The man known as GOD has a reputation for getting the job done

Lord O'Donnell's three principles of rule
Rainbow shades: It's all bright on the night

Rainbow shades

It's all bright on the night
'It was first time I had ever tasted chocolate. I kept a piece, and when Amsterdam was liberated, I gave it to the first Allied soldier I saw'

Bread from heaven

Dutch survivors thank RAF for World War II drop that saved millions
Britain will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power - Labour

How 'the Axe' helped Labour

UK will be 'run for the wealthy and powerful' if Tories retain power
Rare and exclusive video shows the horrific price paid by activists for challenging the rule of jihadist extremists in Syria

The price to be paid for challenging the rule of extremists

A revolution now 'consuming its own children'
Welcome to the world of Megagames

Welcome to the world of Megagames

300 players take part in Watch the Skies! board game in London
'Nymphomaniac' actress reveals what it was really like to star in one of the most explicit films ever

Charlotte Gainsbourg on 'Nymphomaniac'

Starring in one of the most explicit films ever
Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi: The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers

Robert Fisk in Abu Dhabi

The Emirates' out-of-sight migrant workers helping to build the dream projects of its rulers
Vince Cable interview: Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'

Vince Cable exclusive interview

Charging fees for employment tribunals was 'a very bad move'
Iwan Rheon interview: Game of Thrones star returns to his Welsh roots to record debut album

Iwan Rheon is returning to his Welsh roots

Rheon is best known for his role as the Bastard of Bolton. It's gruelling playing a sadistic torturer, he tells Craig McLean, but it hasn't stopped him recording an album of Welsh psychedelia
Morne Hardenberg interview: Cameraman for BBC's upcoming show Shark on filming the ocean's most dangerous predator

It's time for my close-up

Meet the man who films great whites for a living
Increasing numbers of homeless people in America keep their mobile phones on the streets

Homeless people keep mobile phones

A homeless person with a smartphone is a common sight in the US. And that's creating a network where the 'hobo' community can share information - and fight stigma - like never before