Leonardo Da Vinci: More Than Just an Artist

Leonardo was born out of wedlock to Caterina, a peasant, and Ser Piero, a lawyer and landlord. He was home schooled and lacked formal education in Greek and Latin. Da Vinci is commonly regarded as “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance Man” due to his excellent skills and contributions in various fields which include invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.

  • He was an accomplished lyre player. He was first presented at the Milanese court as a musician and not as an artist or inventor.
  • Andrea Del Verrocchio, Da Vinci’s teacher once asked him to draw a painting of an angel. Da Vinci’s drawing was so good that his master decided to never paint again.
  • Da Vinci wasn’t a man who finished and turned over his work in time. He has had track records wherein he accepted payment or parts of it without completing the original piece. The Adoration of The Magi is one such painting which hangs in Uffizi Gallery in Florence despite being unfinished.
  • Da Vinci was an avid writer. Thousands of pages (roughly 6000 pages) were left behind by him. His writings were illegible as he used mirror script, which means he started on the right side of the page and moved to the left. Many speculate that this was more of a prevention mechanism so that people wouldn’t steal his ideas. Some also believe that this way of writing came easier to a left hander.
  • Leonardo, being ambidextrous could also draw forward with one hand while writing backward with the other.
  • Da Vinci’s Mona Lisa “the best known, the most visited, the most written about, the most sung about, the most parodied work of art in the world” was analyzed using a face-recognition software by the researchers at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Illinois and it was found out that the Mona Lisa is 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, and 2% angry. It now sits behind a six-foot bulletproof barrier at the Louvre Museum in Paris, where it has been kept for more than 200 years.
  • Leonardo had a thing for water. He had developed plans for floating snowshoes, a breathing device for underwater exploration, a life preserver, and a diving bell that could attack ships from below.
  • His contributions towards Science were numerous. They include explaining the blue colour of the sky and the dim visibility of the entire moon when it is a thin crescent.
  • Leonardo dug into graveyards at night to steal corpses and study human anatomy.
  • Leonardo was a strict vegetarian. He was also against keeping birds and animals caged. He would simply buy caged animals to set them free.

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