Carlo Pedretti said he favors reversing a 1970s restoration project, leaving the Codex Atlanticus as a bundle of loose pages, ANSA reported Tuesday.
"The damage has already been done," he said. "The Codex Atlanticus was ruined when its pages were first assembled into 12 volumes."
He added that separating the Codex, which is largest collection of Leonardo's drawings and writings, will improve its conservation and make it easier to display at exhibitions.
The Codex was originally assembled in the late 16th century by the sculptor Pompeo Leoni, who gathered nearly 1,120 scraps of paper onto 402 pages, which he then bound into a single, volume.
A restoration project from 1968 to 1972 then split the codex into 12 leather-bound parts in efforts to help preserve it.
"These pages were mounted on the blank sheets of 12 volumes, which altered their edges forever,'' Pedretti said. ''And that's to say nothing of the damage caused to the writing and drawings, which were weakened by submerging the pages in water and alcohol and then badly touched up by 'restorers.'"