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The Genius of Leonardo da Vinci
Sigmund Freud once said: "Leonardo da Vinci was like a man who awoke too early in the darkness, while the others were all still asleep.” Truer words were never spoken.
Da Vinci was one of the great artists and sculptors but he was also an extremely talented engineer, scientist, inventor and many other things.He was born on 15 April 1452 near the Tuscan town of Vinci, and was the illegitimate son of a local lawyer.
Leonardo da Vinci is probably best known for his paintings, sketches and other artworks, but he was much more than an artist. He was an architect, sculptor, costume designer, musician, mathematician and a botanist. He is credited with sketching the first parachute, first helicopter, first airplane, first tank, first repeating rifle, swinging bridge, paddle boat and first motor car. He was also one of the first artists to sketch outdoor portraits. He was also a
His genius produced many contributions to the world in many varying fields. Anatomy, physiology, mechanics, hydraulics, physics, philosophy, mathematics, writing, engineering, orbital mechanics, botany, optics were all areas in which his expertise was invaluable.
Da Vinci made the first real studies of flight in the 1480's and sketched over 100 drawings illustrating his theories. Although his spectacular “ornithopter flying machine was never built, many believe the modern helicopter was born out of the concept.
One of Leonardo's greatest artworks was the Mona Lisa, painted in 1404 which was famous for her mysterious smile. The painting took six years to complete. The King of France became intrigued with the painting and bought it. However, Leonardo did not want to part with it. A deal was struck so he could keep it in his studio until his death.
Another painting, The Last Supper, was painted in 1495 and became the most famous painting in the world. Leonardo made his Self Portrait in 1515, four years before he died. The artist was famous for his unique use of light in his portraits. And oddly, he never put eyebrows on his paintings.
It was about 1482 Leonardo wrote the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, a very self flattering letter. In it he claimed to know the techniques of constructing bombardments and making cannons; building ships as well as armored vehicles, catapults, and other war machines as well as sculpture in marble, bronze, and clay. He entered the service of the Duke and served as principal engineer in the duke's numerous military enterprises.
His scientific theories were based on careful observation and precise documentation. Most of his theories were written in mirror script. Therefore, they were not understood by many and were perhaps the reason his findings were not published during his lifetime. Had they been published, life may have been quite different for people of his time.
In the field of anatomy he researched the body’s circulatory system and principals of sight. He made discoveries in meteorology and geology, studied the effects of the moon on the tides and discovered the nature of fossil shells. He was one of the first in the field of hydraulics and probably invented the hydrometer. He invented many useful machines. Among them was an underwater diving suit. His flying devices, although not practical, displayed sound principles of aerodynamics.
Leonardo da Vinci was not only famous as an artist but is also the subject of several unsolved mysteries. There have always been controversies about how he died and where his remains were really laid. Many have also speculated the 'Mona Lisa' was not a portrait of a relative or past love, but a self-portrait of him in disguise.
In order to answer these questions, an analysis of his remains must be performed. Permission is being sought from French authorities for an exhumation so carbon dating and DNA testing can be done. If the skull is still intact, the secret behind the identity of Mona Lisa may be revealed. Scientists will recreate a virtual and physical reconstruction of da Vinci's face. A comparison to theMona Lisa will follow.
The details of da Vinci's death have been scrutinized over the centuries. The last three years of his life were spent in France after accepting an invitation from King Francis I, who dubbed him the "first painter to the king." The location of his death in 1519 at 67 years of age is recorded as Cloux, near Amboise, France at the age of 67.
Originally, he was buried in the palace church of Saint Florentine, but it was demolished during the French Revolution. It is thought his remains were transported to the Saint-Hubert Chapel located near the castle. A tombstone there simply reads "Leonardo da Vinci." This site has been presumed to be his final resting place.