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An Italian Renaissance Genius: Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian renaissance genius born April 15 of 1452. Much of his early years are a mystery and are undocumented. His father was Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci and his mother was Caterina, a present from the Middle East. He spent the first five years of his life living with her until he eventually moved out to live with his father. From there no further information on his early childhood exists until he is 14 years old. At which time he began apprenticing artist Verrochio. In this workshop Leonardo discovered his passion for arts and creative work. He gained many technical and artistic skills while apprenticing and these skills would lead him to be the great artist he is known as today.

Leonardo received an informal education during his time in the workshop as his father had seen that he was an artist at heart. This time in the workshop was spent learning sculpting, metal work, mathematics, geometry, and much more. Leonardo spent six years learning and crafting. By the age of 20 he had become a member of “The Guild of Saint Luke”. He remained with Verrochio until the time that he had become a master himself. At which time he began his first commissioned work “The Adoration of Madi” which he never finished. After being accused of sodomy he disappeared for a few years until he was 22. Nothing is known about what Leonardo did during this time as there are no known documents on his location during this time. The courts acquitted him of this crime however.

Leonardo, Interestingly never married and instead spent the majority of his life perfecting his craft. Leonardo received many commissions as he had a good background and excellent talents. His first two commissions were not completed though as he moved while in the process of making his second commission. He often explored his talents in engineering and music as well as in 1482 he made a silver lyre in the shape of a horse head. Leonardo’s earlier years were mostly spent in the workshop were he crafted his skills and learned to become the artist that he is. It wasn’t until his later years that he really became the influential mastermind that he is known as today.

Leonardo Da Vinci’s talent was not limited to any one field as the man mastered and accomplished many things in his life. One of the many things he mastered was science and engineering. He had a bit of trouble supporting himself as an artist and decided to create a few inventions for profit. He worked with Cesare Borgia to create machines of war and the things he created were truly revolutionary. One of his most famous machines of war was his armored car. The armored car was shaped like a circle and could turn it and its turret in any direction. The armored car was also as the name suggests heavily armored and incredibly hard to penetrate. However the car had one fatal flaw in the engineering that prevented it from being built. Many believe that this flaw was far too small to stop him and that he placed it intentionally as he knew the power that this tank possessed.

His inventions were not limited to war however. One of his inventions was the modern day clock. His clock used minutes and hours the same as we use now. Even though he did not create the clock his invention had a massive impact on the world following it. One of his most famous designs was his flying machine. While the device was never made during his lifetime the designs for it were far ahead of his time. The machine would allow the user to take flight in a similar way as the airplanes of today.

Lastly he designed potential scuba gear. While working in Venice he had the idea for a suit that would allow for sneak attacks from under water. The user could breathe under water for an extended period of time and the suit even had a spot for urine. Lastly of his amazing designs was a helicopter. He called it the Aerial Screw and it functioned in a similar way to that of a modern day helicopter. Able to lift and fly above the sky this invention like many others sadly was never realized until after his death. But the genius behind the machine was unquestionable.

Not only was Leonardo Da Vinci known for more than just his excellent engineering and designs he was also known for his fantastic artwork. Art was his primary focus of work during his life and it certainly shows. While he dabbled in many forms of art a significant portion of his works were sculptures. Unfortunately none of his sculptures have survived to this day. His most famous work was a 24 foot tall statue known as “The horse” meant to be a tribute to his father this giant horse statue and for the time this statue would have been the largest bronze statue ever made. Sadly the bronze was taken and used to defend Milan from the French.

Leonardo Da Vinci is responsible for some of the most well-known paintings on the planet. His paintings just to name a few of the more popular ones include the Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and many more like them. His influence on the world of art was truly staggering. However Leonardo claims that he never finished the Mona Lisa or any work for that matter. His greatest regret is that he says he never finished a single work. Despite the fame and brilliance of some of his works he claims that not a single one was ever truly finished. The Last Supper was a commission for Leonardo and it was to be the centerpiece of the Sforza family mausoleum.

Da Vinci also did a lot of drawings. Many of his drawings were sketches and designs. However his most famous drawing is known as The Vitruvian Man. The drawing is the outline of the ideal proportions of a man. Another of his famous works was the design for the gyrocopter. For the time having something of such brilliance and mechanical ingenuity was almost unheard of. Da Vinci was a fantastic artist and was one of the most brilliant artists of all time.

Leonardo Da Vinci, while a master artist was also a fantastic scientist. He was an observation based scientist and attempted to ensure that he did not affect the results of his science. He was a pioneer of science and changed how modern day scientists do their work. At the time the only method of research was the bible or past works. Da Vinci learned that in order to prove his work he needed to repeat tests over and over again and get the same result. At the time this was simply unheard of and has had a lasting impact ever since.

One of his main areas of study in the scientific field was Anatomy. He created a notebook all about human anatomy and it was filled with sketches of the human body one for example is the Vitruvian man. However for about 20 years he quit anatomy research until in 1508 the subject sparked his interest yet again. At the time he had just made a breakthrough in his research of physics. He was able to use this breakthrough in his research. He dissected 30 or so corpses and had many notes to write down in his book. He discovered the biceps and their purpose in the human body as a lever of sorts

His studies extended far beyond Anatomy. He was also a brilliant mathematician. His skill in math and geometry would lead him to create designs for some of the most amazing machines of the time. Machines such as the Gyrocopter and the Armored car were products of his genius math and physics knowledge. In fact he was so ahead of his time that back in 1502 he designed a bridge that was 720ft long however others claimed that his bridge design was impossible. However in 2001 his designs were proven when a bridge based on his designs was built in Norway. Leonardo Da Vinci was a fantastic scientist by the standards of the time and even by today’s standards. He achieved so much during his life span in so many different fields an excelled in all of them. Truly a testament to his intelligence.

Leonardo Da Vinci was more than just influential on the world/ His influence on history is immeasurable and his creativity unmatched. He has changed the history of humanity from archeology to engineering his influence is ever lasting. There is a reason that his name is instantly recognizable to the majority of people in the world 500 years after his death.

He created the most well-known artwork in the entire world. His work inspired generations of artists and still inspires artists today. His creativity was something that at the time was seen as foolish and insane yet today is seen as remarkable and ahead of the times. A single person making such a massive impact on both art and science was such a bizarre thing. For the most part historical figures are known for either one or the other but very rarely are they masters of both. His art was revolutionary especially for the time and he was breaking new grounds in both fields. He basically defined how experiments would be conducted for years to come. Even today his observation method is still used. His design for a bridge while mocked at the time proved to be viable when in 2001 his designs were used to construct a bridge in Norway.

He is important to history as without him humanity would be much farther back than we are now. His work set in motion the works of so many others that changed the world in their own ways. His scientific methods and discoveries pushed human development forward in so many remarkable ways. Art is what it is today because of his works and how they inspired and influenced the generations that followed. Not just influential his work was monumental and would change history forever. His vehicle designs changed warfare, his buildings changed architecture, his studies changes anatomy, His observations changed science, and His paintings and sculptures changed art. There is no doubting the impact of Leonardo Da Vinci.

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