Guest Author - Carol Taller
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 and died on May 2, 1519 at the age of 67. He was best known for his abilities in arts and sciences. Did you know that in addition to his skills in science and fine arts Leonardo also had a strong singing voice?
Leonardo was indeed a talented scientist, inventor, artist and musician. His wide depths of abilities are probably unequalled to anyone else in history. His diverse talents led to the term “Renaissance Man”.
Leonardo was born near the town of Vinci, close to Florence, Italy. He was the illegitimate son of Ser Pierro and a young girl named Caterina. They never married; Ser Pierro raised his son while Caterina moved away and married someone else. He became the eldest child with seventeen half brothers and sisters.
When Leonardo was about 15 years old he became an apprentice in Andrea del Verrochio’s studio. It is said that once Verrochio saw Leonardo’s painting he resolved never to paint again honoring Leonardo’s great talent. Of course, there is no way to tell if this story is true or just a rumor honoring Leonardo.
In 1482 Leonardo entered the service of the Duke of Milan. During the next seventeen years he made many accomplishments in science and art. The Duke assigned him tasks with painting, sculpting,designing weapons, machinery, and buildings.
His artwork primarily had a religious theme as was the custom during that time period. He completed “The Last Supper” (1497) while under the service of the Duke and began working on the “Mona Lisa”.
He immersed himself in biology, anatomy, mathematics, and physics. He anticipated many of the developments in modern science. Leonardo understood the importance of precision and documentation which assisted many researchers to further develop Leonardo's ideas and theories.
To enable the study blood circulation he began dissecting carcasses and cadavers. He studied birds flying and he applied his studies to build flying devices. Leonardo studied the effect of the moon on the tides which eventually helped for theories on the formation of continents.
While many of his inventions never came to fruition his principles and sketches assisted others. His notebooks were complied into the “Codex Atlanticus” but remained unread for centuries after his death.
Leonardo deeply loved animals and followed a vegetarian diet which was very unique during that time period. And, much to the displeasure of others was known to set caged animals free.
Leonardo’s greatness grew over the years as we learned more about his work and just how progressive it truly was.