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Leonardo Da Vinci- Renaissance Man

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Autor:  max86  06 January 2010
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There are not many men in the history of the world that have inspired, influenced and revolutionized the modern world as Leonardo da Vinci has. His works in Arts, Science, Engineering and many others has influenced many people in their respective fields. His works in Engineering such as the designing of a machine that can fly has gone on to influence the Wright brothers who invented the airplane. His research in Anatomy and other biological works has made pathways for surgeons, doctors, and many scientists in their research. Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings are considered to be the best in the world and priceless which led the pathway to painters creating lifelike paintings with emotion. Overall, Leonardo Da Vinci has been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man" and as a universal genius, a man infinitely curious, infinitely inventive, and infinitely influential to the modern world.

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy in poor family as his father was a painter himself and his mother a peasant girl. He grew up in his father’s home and had 17 siblings. As a child, Leonardo was heavily interested in books which were supplied by family and friends; he was also quickly exposed to the long standing tradition of painting in his family. At age 15, Leonardo’s genius was shown in his paintings as they were amazingly lifelike. He was so good at his work that his master at that time Verrocchio decided never to paint again probably because Leonardo was better than him. Leonardo stayed Verrocchio’s apprentice for a few years till he believed that it was time to make some money with his work. He moved to Milan and worked for the Duke for around 17 years. It was during those 17 years that he reached new barriers of achievement in science and arts. He designed military machines, buildings, and weapons as a side interest for the Duke making extra money, but it was his other works that showed his true genius. From 1485 to 1490, Leonardo produced studies on loads of subjects, including nature, flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture; designing everything from churches to fortresses. Also during that period he produced his first studies on anatomy. Leonardo’s interest were so many that many of his works were left unfinished and only few of his paintings were finished such as "The Last Supper" and "The Virgin on the Rocks," and he left dozens of paintings and projects incomplete. He spent most of his time studying science, either by going out into nature and observing things or by locking himself away in his workshop cutting up bodies or searching universal truths. He developed the habit of recording his research, thoughts, and studies in a notebook; his works covered painting, architecture, the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy. Over the next 16 years, Leonardo worked and traveled throughout Italy for a number of employers and it was during this time he met Niccolo Machiavelli who was also considered a genius much like Leonardo during the Renaissance era. In the coming years, Leonardo Da Vinci finished many of his few paintings such as the “Mona Lisa” and many others. In 1516, he was offered the title of Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King by Francis I in France. He suffered from paralysis on his right hand but was still able to draw and teach, in his late years he produced studies on cats, dogs, horses, dragons, St. George, anatomical studies, studies on the nature of water, drawings of the Deluge, and of various machines. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519 in Cloux, France.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s art is considered to be the finest in the world because of his ability to paint amazingly lifelike and original paintings. Even though, the Renaissance was centuries away from our time, Leonardo Da Vinci had a keen eye for realism. As there were no cameras back then, the paintings had to be done with immense accuracy but not many were able to do that with the exception of Leonardo Da Vinci. His predecessors were heavily involved in painting in symbolic and bizarrely religious paintings, this made Leonardo take a fresh approach which was painting realistically. This approach was courageous and new which went on to become the standard for painters who followed in the 16th century. His thinking was very different about paintings when comparing to other artists at that time, his research on light and shadow became revolutionary to future painters and artists. He believed that objects were not comprised of outlines, but were actually three-dimensional bodies defined by light and shadow; this technique was called chiaroscuro. The other technique he used in his paintings was called sfumato; he saw object's detail and color changed as it receded in the distance. He used sfumato to create
atmosphere and depth in his paintings. Leonardo Da Vinci was considered to be a perfectionist, so in order to improve his artwork he used science and anatomy by dissecting human bodies in order to paint a better and more accurate figure. He was considered to be the first artist to study the physical scope of men, women and children and to use these studies to determine the perfect human figure.

Two of Leonardo’s famous paintings “Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” show the talent and genius of his work. The Mona Lisa is known as the most famous painting ever made probably because of the many questions rises for example, why is she smiling? Who is Mona Lisa? Is she pregnant? Some people even go far as saying that it is Leonardo Da Vinci himself. Whatever the question people ask, not many doubt it was one of the finest paintings ever created because of the light, shadows, detail, and balance it contains. His other painting “The Last Supper” is another masterpiece by Leonardo Da Vinci; it shows the last meal of Christ before he was crucified; the painting again shows immense detail and realism it also known as the worst preserved pieces and also the most controversial one. Overall, Leonardo believed that artist must know all of the laws of nature and not just the rules of perspective. He also believed that the eye was the perfect instrument for learning these laws, and the artist the perfect person to illustrate them.

Like every artist, Leonardo Da Vinci found it difficult making a living by painting so he looked towards more profitable fields such as architecture, engineering, weapons designing, and military strategist. He worked for the Duke of Milan as a military engineer and other similar fields rarely letting the Duke know of his astounding ability in painting. Working as an engineer cam naturally to him as Leonardo felt that the ever changing world needs update to date technology, machines, and etc. Leonardo’s first major breakthrough idea came when he proposed creating a dry route across the Gulf of Istanbul, connecting the Golden Horn and the Bosporus with a bridge. This idea was considered to be impossible in real life as other engineers thought that the bridge would be too big and would not hold. Even though, the connecting bridge was merely an idea of Leonardo Da Vinci and was not built that time, it is believed to have worked according modern engineers which shows that Leonardo was centuries ahead of others during his lifetime. Leonardo Da Vinci also researched heavily into levers and gears and came to a conclusion that when applied properly, could accomplish astonishing tasks. Gears were at the heart of nearly all his inventions, from the crane to the helicopter to the automatic turnspit. Leonardo’s main tool however was water; he studied all forms of water such as steam, liquid, and ice. He came up with an idea of measuring humidity, steam powered canon, and many useful industrial machines powered by flowing water. He was so heavily involved with using water as his main research tool that he came up with insane ideas such as floating snow shoes to walk on water, device to breathe underwater, webbed gloves to explore underwater, device to attack and sink ships from underwater and unsinkable ship. His military inventions and designs included missiles, multi-barreled machine guns, grenades, mortars, and even a modern-style tank. Leonardo also designed a machine that could fly which in future turned out to be the modern airplane.

As a scientist, Leonardo was known to have brought together the ancient methods with that of modern ones. During his stay in Milan, he studied and researched many topics such as anatomy, zoology, botany, geology, optics, aerodynamics and hydrodynamics among others. Leonardo unlike his predecessors was known to have taken a different kind of approach towards nature, it was known as the observational approach. He observed things that normal people did not see at time and would constantly ask himself questions of how things exist and work. He even went as far as dissecting dead bodies to figure out how human organs and body works; he paid special attention to small organs which were hidden such as capillaries. Leonardo drew many images of human skeletons in his book and was the first to describe he double S form of the backbone. He also was able to draw the human skull, the brain and its sections remarkably well. Leonardo not only studied the human body but also studied many animals. His study of human anatomy is also believed to have led the design of first known robot in history which came into being in 1495 but was actually thoroughly researched in 1950s. Recently, Leonardo’s diagram of the heart inspired a British heart surgeon to pioneer a new way to repair damaged hearts in 2005.

There is actually no one that I can personally think of that has influenced the modern world as much as Leonardo Da Vinci. His works in many various fields have inspired many to invent, research, study, learn the things in this world and to advance with time. His works in his paintings has revolutionized the art world by bringing in new and different techniques and the idea that it is good to try new things because during his time, Leonardo’s predecessors were painting with the same boring style which has been passed on for centuries before him. So in this case, he was the first one to challenge that idea; this has definitely influenced many of the modern artists as such as Pablo Picasso, Jackson Pollock, and many others who have developed their own technique. Leonardo’s works in engineering has probably been the most influential to the modern world as his works, ideas, and designs has led to many modern day inventions such as airplane, helicopter, better ships, submarines, tanks, bicycle, better bridges, taller buildings, advanced weapons, artificial intelligence, and many more. His works in science has led to many scientific breakthroughs in the modern world such as advanced ways of surgeries on humans, faster and more efficient way to generate power through the use of water, the many uses of levers and gears, and many scientific breakthroughs were inspired by Leonardo’s works.

Leonardo Da Vinci indeed would be considered the smartest man to have ever embraced the earth because of his immense contribution to the modern world. I personally sometimes imagine what if Leonardo Da Vinci existed today and had the modern tools to work with, how he would revolutionize the present and future sometimes just gives me the shivers because I do not believe that if ever a human will ever have the knowledge, dedication, inspiration, thinking that Leonardo Da Vinci had. Even though, he existed 500 years ago, his presence still exists through his works and influence which still inspires many to believe in something and go for it. Calling Leonardo Da Vinci a genius is an understatement as there are no words to describe him, appropriately he should be known the smartest man ever “The Renaissance Man.”


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