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Leonardo da Vinci
This nOde last updated August 12th, 2003 and is permanently morphing...
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Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci (lê´e-när´do
de vîn´chê, dä, lâ´-)
Italian painter, engineer, musician, and scientist. The most versatile genius of the Renaissance, Leonardo filled notebooks with engineering and scientific observations that were in some cases centuries ahead of their time. As a painter Leonardo is best known for The Last Supper (c. 1495) and Mona Lisa (c. 1503).
Leonardo da Vinci understood that
Man [*Canon of Man] was intended
in the proportion of Phi and indeed much of the natural world was Phi based.
In the anatomy of Man, the spinal vertebrae are relative to each other in the
Phi ratio. The Nautilus shell spirals in the Phi ratio. Plants and trees grow
in the Phi ratio. The Earth and Moon
have this same relationship. The sunflower is a wonderful example of the spiraling
effect of Phi. Look at a pine cone and find the same relationship of Phi...in
two directions at the same time.
Leonardo da Vinci's artwork represented a radical change in implied perspective and, indeed, the raison d'etre of art itself. He caused as much outrage among established classical artists as delight in the crop of Renaissance artists he inspired. His overt sensualism, coded anti-religion, and dabbles in the "forbidden" field of natural philosophy (the precursor to experimental science) nearly got him burned alive.
It is believed by some that the reason Leonardo da Vinci used his left hand exclusively was that his right hand was paralyzed.
Leonardo wrote in Italian using a special kind of shorthand that he invented himself. People who study his notebooks have long been puzzled by something else, however. He usually used "mirror writing", starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left. Only when he was writing something intended for other people did he write in the normal direction.
People who were contemporaries of Leonardo left records that they saw him write and paint left handed. He also made sketches showing his own left hand at work. Being a lefty was highly unusual in Leonardo's time. Because people were superstitious, children who naturally started using their left hands to write and draw were forced to use their right hands.
No one knows the true reason Leonardo used mirror writing, though several possibilities have been suggested:
He was trying to make it harder for people to read his notes and steal his ideas.
He was hiding his scientific ideas from the powerful Roman Catholic Church,
sometimes disagreed with what Leonardo observed.
Writing left handed from left to right was messy because the ink just put down would smear as his hand moved across it. Leonardo chose to write in reverse because it prevented smudging.
he was a vegetarian:
"I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men." -- Leonardo da Vinci