Leonardo Vinci was an artist who spent his life learning unique things, curiously like a child. He lived like a Renaissance man observing and devising skills all the time. He passionately followed his tenderness for art, architecture, engineering, and science. A soul full of light and an inquisitive mind created renowned paintings such as “The last supper” and “Monalisa”. He observed nature in detail and discovered various ways to build specialties for military appliances, sewer systems, and water channels. Leonardo’s notebooks are among the most impressive treasures of human history. In this book, da Vinci’s intricately detailed artistic and intellectual pursuits are explored, along with his classic artwork. A fascinating look into Leonardo’s world, Leonardo’s Notebooks enfolds subjects such as human figures, light, shade, perspective, botany, geography, physical sciences, astronomy, architecture, inventions, and much more, such as human figures, light, shade, perspective, and visual perception.
“The painter who draws merely by practice and by eye, without any reason, is like a mirror which copies everything placed in front of it without being conscious of their existence”. – Leonardo Vinci
Genius: Leonardo da Vinci
As a young man, Leonardo always kept a small journal on his belt, in which he jotted ideas, made lists, drew sketches, and made notes to himself. A variety of topics are explored in the book, including nature, universe, science, mechanics, art, legends, fables, experiences, and reflections. Leonardo’s detailed exploration is illustrated through sketches, depictions, and observations to help readers understand how everything floats through his vision. Around 7,200 pages have been preserved in codices and reveal a digressive and curious mind.
It is said that to know and comprehend the works of Leonardo Vinci, one has to deeply understand the “Notebooks of Leonardo Vinci”. As a curious individual, he closely studied everything he was interested in, including the play of light on his subjects, the proportions of the human body of his Vitruvian Man, the movements of dragonfly wings, the contractions of horse’s leg muscles, and the flow of water in a river. He had notes scribbled such as “Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle.” “Ask Benedetto Protinari by what means they walk on ice in Flanders.” “Describe the tongue of the woodpecker.” “Observe the goose’s foot.” “Ask Giannino the Bombardier about how the tower of Ferrara is walled”. He displays brilliance in the use of graphic techniques, as well as an extraordinary fluency of ideas expressed by disciplinary edges. Despite having almost no formal education, he managed to accomplish it. Leonardo never had to work in the fields since his father was a notary, a profession that brought him some prominence and wealth. During his free time, Leonardo wandered, observed nature, and created notebooks full of observations. “A disciple of experience,” he called himself.
Life: As experiences and learnings
“Nature is the source of all true knowledge. She has her own logic, her own laws, she has no effect without cause nor invention without necessity.” – Leonardo da Vinci
Throughout his life, he was fascinated by optics, whether it was how light is refracted, or why objects at a distance appear different in color and distinctness to those closest to him. Using perspective in his paintings was an innovative use of these insights. Thousands of years before the advent of published anatomy studies, he conducted pioneering studies of human anatomy. Aortic valve closure was explained accurately by his fascination with hydraulics. In his notebooks, he questions Copernicus’ geocentric view of the universe. Light and optics are evident in his use of sfumato in painting, which allows objects to be defined by shading rather than hard lines. In comparison with the human circulatory system, he sees analogies between root and branch systems in plants. Details are at the heart of Leonardo’s genius. In order to determine the origin of each nerve that controls each facial muscle, he began to analyze every possible movement of each part of the face. The distinction between cranial and spinal nerves may not have proven necessary for painting a smile, but Leonardo needed to know. As a result of his anatomical studies, he created the mysterious smile of the Mona Lisa, and his anatomical drawings are themselves works of art. It is interesting to note that Leonardo barely thought of himself as a painter despite his remarkable artistic talent. In his 30s, he applied for a job with the ruler of Milan. He included “I can also paint” almost as an afterthought when listing interests such as military engineering, science, and designing sets for plays. As a result of having such a broad range of interests, he often changed focus mid-project, leaving projects unfinished.
Leonardo’s sense of wonder and curiosity stands out above all other attributes despite his many accomplishments and flaws. He would observe things closely, scribble down his introspections, then try to figure out how they operated if he wanted to understand them. Understanding his surroundings, he acquired wisdom, and sensitivity, and devoted himself to the form of art while encouraging future generations. Instead of digging on Google, we should be working on our sense of force, how everything transforms into something else, and how accuracy and craft do not reside in different rooms, hallways, buildings, or minds. Throughout Leonardo’s Notebooks, he connects moments of his life to artistic triumphs through his writings, drawings, and personal thoughts.
“All our knowledge has its origins in our perceptions.” – Leonardo Vinci
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