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Leonardo Di Vinchi A Genius Uncovered

Updated on September 25, 2012

When people think of Leonardo, Michelangelo, and Raphael, let’s be frank they either think of famous well known artists or the ninja turtles. Most people believe these artists are all from the same generation but what you will find is that Leonardo da Vinci was older than the others and influenced both them and generations to come greatly. But Leonardo was much more than an artist. He delved into many different fields he was a painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, geologist, botanist and writer; a boat load of subjects to have extensive knowledge in. So it might not come as such a surprise that it is said that he was a universal genius but all the same there is no denying that he left this world with quite a reputation. A regular ‘Renaissance Man’ Leonardo da Vinci influenced many with his diverse talents throughout his life. I’ll take you through his accomplishments, highlighting his most notable and bringing others into the light.

Leonardo was born in the village of Vinci, Italy about 25 miles from Florence, on April 15, 1452. His father was a noble but his mother was only a pheasant. He was born out of wedlock but was raised by his father, which was not uncommon at the time surprisingly; you would think that in that time they would just dump the bastard children. While growing up Leonardo received informal education in Latin, Geometry and Mathematics. So while his Father may not be the best at least he gave Leonardo a good education for the time.

But at the young age 15 he was apprenticed to Verrocchio. A well-known artist in Florence in fact it was known as “one of the finest in Florence” while being an apprentice he was exposed to drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics and carpentry. This was the start of a great artist. Later on Leonardo helped Verrocchio on painting the baby angel in The Baptism of Christ and it was rumored that because it showed that he had far better skills than his own master that Verrocchio put down his brush and never painted again. This was the start of a successful artistic career. Leonardo had a huge artistic influence and it is what he was most known for. As an artist He had many patrons which means that as he served a noble they would provide room and board along with anything else he may need. Even though Leonardo had so much influence only about fifteen of his works survive today. Despite his lack of paintings in the modern world that suggests he was quite lazy he was a very on and off worker. Sometimes he would paint for days from dawn till dusk without stopping to eat and then not paint for three or four days at a time. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous along with The Last Supper and his drawing of the Vitruvian Man. His works reflected some of the more important things he brought to art; he suggested more flexibility in figures, he had a sense of continued movement, he also brought Light perspective and shading in art to new heights.

Leonardo wasn’t only an artist he was also a scientist which I believe makes sense as both of these professions require astute observation which is probably why his art was so realistic. Leonardo was amazing in his predictions. He conceptualized the helicopter, tank, concentrated solar power, calculator, the double hull, submarine, and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. He drew most of his conclusions from observation. His eyes must have been amazing. He came up with designs hundreds of years before their time he had schematics for most of his flying models that were built and proved feasible. Some of his findings if they were available at the time could have had a direct influence but they were not known to the scientific community. It is amazing to think that he knew of these things decades no centuries from when they came out to the general public. He also could have had a great influence on the medical world in this time period. As an accomplished artist he was commissioned to dissect corpses of people so to better understand the structure of the body so he could make his paintings more realistic. In all he made over 200 pages of notes and detailed drawings that would have been very useful to the medical world if they had been published taking away years of medical discoveries.

This leaves the question why didn’t he reveal his works and allow the world to progress? Leonardo is shrouded in mystery he had over 13,000 pages of notes, drawings schematics which were never published in his time. He seemed to want to conceal this knowledge from the world as long as possible. All of his scientific discoveries were written so it could only be read in a mirror. Was this for security or just an odd quirk? It was also said that he would walk around the city and if anyone caught his eye he would follow them all day and study their habits and make drawings of them. Now a days no one really thinks on what kind of people these famous figures of the past were we just think of their accomplishments. But the truth is Leonardo was born in a very warlike time and despite that he was a very gentle person. He was a vegetarian and was known to have bought caged birds from the market just to set the free. That he was such a gentle person is a little ironic because he wrote a letter of recommendation for himself stating he could build superior weapons. It was discovered recently when people decided to build his version of the tank that he might have been trying to set people back in war. Because when they built the tank you just had to move one gear to make it work. A very simple mistake in such a complex machine: could he have done similar things in the war machines he made in his day? In fact he had stated that the reason for him disclosing his schematics for a submarine was he feared it would be used for war.

So there are many things said about Leonardo today not the least of which is that he was universal genius. Leonardo’s work is not so easily forgotten. We are not in any less awe of him now than we were hundreds of years ago. He did not look at the world he saw it for what it was. In one of Leonardo’s journals he states “As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.” Wise words and whose life could ever be better spent then of that who spoke them.


Leonardo's Genius

Leonardo's Lifespan
Leonardo's Post Inventions
When it was invented
April 15, 1452- May 2, 1519 (aged 67)
Hang Glider
In the 1880s first practical gliders
April 15, 1452- May 2, 1519 (aged 67)
The 1870s
April 15, 1452- May 2, 1519 (aged 67)
Early 1900s
April 15, 1452- May 2, 1519 (aged 67)
1620 was when information on how to build it was available
Notice how far ahead Da Vinchi was of his time.


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