One of the greatest minds of all time, Leonardo da Vinci was a true genius whose proficiency and output in many fields made him one of the engines of the Renaissance. The results of his uniquely creative mind are still felt to this day.
We think of Italy as a land of hedonists capable of appreciating and creating the beautiful things in life. Connoisseurs of art, beauty, fashion and fine cars, it is a nation where the inquisitive mind of the engineer melds into the intuitive passion of the artist.
But for all this Italy has also produced its fair share of great thinkers. People like Dante, Guglielmo Marconi, Alessandro Volta and Galileo Galilei, not to mention all those great architects, painters and mathematicians.
Even among such famed personages, however, there is one man who stands head and shoulders above the rest; one man who embodies the saying ‘Renaissance Man’, describing a person whose mental and creative abilities combined with an insatiable quest for knowledge are such that he is a master of many disciplines at once.
To define such a person would be to conjure the name Leonardo da Vinci, an inventor, artist, mathematician, architect, engineer, anatomist, botanist and geologist who, for good measure, also wrote and played music.
Both intellectually and creatively he was a true genius, and one of the greatest minds of all time. But da Vinci wasn’t only a thinker, he was also a doer. His ability to connect the theoretical with the practical has left us with a rich catalogue of inventions, mathematical models, scientific observations and artwork.
The Renaissance Man
To delve into the life story of Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci is to come away with the impression of a superhuman being. Imagine if Stephen Hawking could paint like Picasso, design buildings like Mies van der Rohe, understand nature like David Attenborough and create amazing new inventions that were far ahead of their time.
Oh yes, and write like a novelist while reciting classical concertos. It seems too much for one person to be capable of and yet this is what the Renaissance ideal was all about – and when it is comes to the multidisciplinary Renaissance Man, the ultimate incarnation is Leonardo da Vinci…
Words Michel Cruz