A man who has broad intellectual interests and is accomplished in areas of both the arts and the sciences. That is the definition of a Renaissance man. Leonardo's ability to observe and study, then demonstrate those things in his art, makes him a perfect example of a renaissance man. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest inventors. He was also one of the most famous scientists of recorded history. His genius was limited by time and technology, and was driven by his curiosity, and his instinctive sense of the laws of nature.
Da Vinci was dedicated to discovery of truth and the mysteries of nature, and his contributions to science and technology were legendary. As the classic Renaissance man, Leonardo helped set a curious and superstitious world on the means of reason, science, learning, and tolerance. In his time, he was an internationally famous inventor, scientist, engineer, architect, painter, sculptor, musician, mathematician, anatomist, astronomer, geologist, biologist, and philosopher.
In an era when left-handedness was considered the devil's work and lefties were often forced to use their right hand, Leonardo actually used his left hand. People say that this difference was an element of his genius, since his mind allowed him to see beyond the ordinary. He even wrote backwards, and his writings are easily deciphered only with a mirror. Between 1490 and 1495 he developed his habit of recording his studies in illustrated notebooks. His work covered four main themes: painting, architecture, the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy. All one hundred twenty of his notebooks were written backwards. Today, Bill Gates is known to have bought one of his notebooks for thirty million dollars.
Born in 1452, as an illegitimate son of Ser Piero Da Vinci, Leonardo was sent to Florence in his teens to apprentice as a painter under Andrea del Verrocchio. He quickly developed his own artistic style which was unique and contrary to tradition. He even went so far as to make his own special formula of paint. Leonardo went beyond his teachings by making a scientific study of light and shadow in nature. The thought that objects were not comprised of outlines, but were actually three-dimensional bodies defined by light and shadow. Known as chiaroscuro, this technique gave his paintings the soft, lifelike quality that made older paintings look cartoony and flat. He also saw that an object's detail and color changed as it went father and closer in the...