Great Minds: Leonardo da Vinci

Few people can rival Leonardo da Vinci for the title of “Supreme Genius of the Ages” perhaps known first as an artist. His paintings: The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Vitruvian Man are amongst the most famous, recognizable and parodied works of all time. But Leonardo was the very definition of a polymath renaissance man. In addition to being a visionary painter, he was an engineer, an atomist and
chronicler of science. In fact, so vast were his innovations that today, some argue that he should
be thought of as a scientist first. Unfortunately, most of his scientific work documented in at least seven thousand pages of notes he left behind; remained hidden,
lost or scattered around various collections for years,
even centuries after his death. And because he didn’t have a lot of formal training, Leonardo didn’t know Latin! So even during his lifetime he wasn’t able to converse much with the academic world,
such as it was back then. So the weird result of all this is that despite some really pioneering research, Leonardo had a minimal impact on the science and technology of his time. But today, thankfully we have put
enough of the pieces together from the ‘Leonardo Puzzle’ to really see how ahead of his time he was in many ways and in fact, we’re still learning from him. I mean looking back, it seems like naming a ninja turtle after him, was the least we could do… [♪Intro♫] Leo was born in 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Yes, his name means “of Vinci” He was born out of wedlock to a prominent notary and a young peasant girl and was raised by his father on the family estate. Despite what you might expect from a genius, da Vinci didn’t receive much of a formal education beyond basic reading, writing and arithmetic. As a budding artist, he apprenticed under the famous Florentine painter and sculptor, Verrocchio, with whom he remained until he became a master in his own right in his mid 20s. But to understand how scientifically brilliant and innovative he was, we gotta understand what was going on during his time. In the late 1400s when Leonardo was coming up as a young artist, Europe was essentially devoid of most real science in the modern sense. Much of what we knew about the modern world was garnered from The Bible, or passed along from ancient philosophers and physicians and a lot of that, was just laced with superstition or totally wrong. But Leonardo, wasn’t hearing any of that noise. He was influenced by the ancients, but he was also all about systematic observation, experimentation and reasoning. While Arabic scholars were way ahead of the rest of the world in their scientific methods, Back in Europe, Leo was using an empirical approach to science a 100 years before Fancis Bacon and Galileo started to spout in their ideas. Just listen to this passage from da Vinci’s notes This sounds pretty obvious now but at the time in europe It was unheard of. But probably the most brilliant thing about leo was his ability to both observe and really meticulously record in words and in beautiful illustrations The natural world

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