Leonardo Da Vinci 1452-1519
By: Everything Beautiful
There wasn’t much that Leonardo didn’t do. This Renaissance genius was a painter, sculptor, architect, mathematician, engineer, scientist, geologist, anatomist, inventor, botanist, cartographer, musician and writer. His diversified way of thinking is owed to the insatiable curiosity that dominated his mind as well as a unique creativity. Constantly looking at his world through a fresh perspective he was able to harness innovative power and astonish us for centuries. As well, it is no doubt that he dedicated an entire lifetime to his work. He left for the world a brilliant list of accomplishments that is nothing short of a sheer mastermind.
Very well ahead of his time, Da Vinci’s superior intellect deemed him a man of mystery to his peers as he spent much of his time in isolation. However, he was always regarded as highly gracious in his dealings with others as well as being a man of strong moral character. Adding to his catalogue of marvellous attributes, he was also said to be incredibly handsome. Nevertheless, his physical allure and charming personality did not deter him from the importance of his work, leaving him unmarried and without children.
Born April 15, 1452, in a small town from Tuscany, Leonardo had a humble Italian upbringing. Raised by his single father, he received informal schooling in geometry, Latin, and mathematics. Interestingly, he did not show any particular signs of special ability until the age of 14 when he served as an artistic apprentice. This particular display of artistic talent actually sent his instructor from the studio vowing never to paint again due to the disbelief that a such young child could have already possessed artistic mastery. From then he produced art that attained worldwide prominence; the famous Mona Lisa and The Last Supper being only a few of his renowned works.
Also known as the father of modern science, Da Vinci pioneered the scientific method with the development of empirical steps of observation and testing. This was thought of as unusual during his time because everyone relied on philosophy as a means to understanding their world. Some of his inventions were inspired by the examination of nature as he attempted to reproduce the characteristics of animals into functional machines. Very interested in the possibility of flying, he studied the flight patterns of birds and constructed plans for flying machines and gliders. Moreover, he produced several practical inventions including scissors, ladders, an inflatable floating device, a canal system for irrigation of fields and the transportation of goods, a turn-spit for cooking meat, a revolving stage for plays, and even the bicycle 300 years before it was used on the road. He also made the first accurate drawings of human anatomy and maps of Europe.
Leonardo protected his extensive writings from being read by anyone but himself by documenting his notes backwards, only a mirror could be used to reveal his words. He wrote over 13, 000 pages on various topics of interest including science, anatomy, and engineering as well as sketches for his paintings and sculptures. Today his original literature can be found in museums and collections around the world. But back then there is no doubt he’d want his ideas kept a secret. He had sketched engineering plans for new inventions that the world had never seen including the first parachute, helicopter, airplane, tank, repeating rifle, swinging bridge, paddle boat and motorcar.
‘I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.’ – Leonardo Da Vinci