Leonardo Da Vinci Essay

Pages: 5 (1769 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 4  ·  File: .docx  ·  Level: College Junior  ·  Topic: Art  (general)

Leonardo da Vinci was considered a relevant representative of the Renaissance period. His multiple passions, interests and areas of expertise contributed to his popularity. The purpose of the present paper is to discuss some of his inventions, scientific studies and philosophies in an attempt to demonstrate how these may have influenced his work. Interested in both science and art he appears to have succeeded in almost everything he put his mind to.

His contributions make him not only a talented painter, but also a brilliant inventor, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, anatomist, geologist, botanist and writer. As an engineer he created all sorts of devices which could serve for the protection of a city under attack. Some of his inventions were completely impractical, others were impossible to create with the technology of those times. One of the areas which the found extremely interesting was that of flight. He dedicated much of his time to projecting, drawing and analysing devices which could help man fly. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leonardo_da_Vinci#Leonardo_as_observer.2C_scientist_and_inventor)

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The first studies date from the 1480s. There are more than one hundred drawings which serve as a proof of his scientific attempt. The ornithopter flying machine is something which resembles the modern day helicopters. The machine is said to have actually served as an inspiration for the creation of the helicopter, but at that time it was not actually built. (http://inventors.about.com/od/dstartinventors/ig/Inventions-of-Leonardo-DaVinci/Ornithopter-Flying-Machine.htm) Other drawings dated from 1490 and 1500 show that he was trying to achieve the best prototype of a wing for a flying machine that an aviator could move with the use of his legs and arms. The wings wre bat like and the shape of the machine is somewhat similar to the one of the modern plane, fit to use the environment to its advantage. (http://mr_sedivy.tripod.com/da_flight.html)

Essay on Leonardo Da Vinci Assignment

Studies claim that parachutes had been invented before Leonardo and that he tried to improve them. His drawings however demonstrate that he was interested in the device, so if he is not the one to have created it he at least made some efforts in order to improve it. "Leonardo's parachute design consists of sealed linen cloth held open by a pyramid of wooden poles, about seven metres long. The original design was scribbled by Da Vinci in a notebook in 1483. An accompanying note read: "If a man is provided with a length of gummed linen cloth with a length of 12 yards on each side and 12 yards high, he can jump from any great height whatsoever without injury." (http://www.juliantrubin.com/bigten/davinciparachute.html)

As an artist and scientist Leonardo was always trying to reach perfection. It is worth underlining the fact that he was far from a mystic. The understanding of the world as well as the ideal of perfection were to be achieved through the use of reason and science. One of the pieces of evidence in this regard is represented by the notorious Vitruvian man. Vitruvius Pollio was an architect of the time who described the proportions of the palm, the foot, the cubit, etc. In one of his writings, the architect describes the perfection if the symmetry to be found in the human body. Leonardo's drawing is believed to be an illustration of that description. "Leonardo's famous drawings of the Vitruvian proportions of a man's body first standing inscribed in a square and then with feet and arms outspread inscribed in a circle provides an excellent early example of the way in which his studies of proportion fuse artistic and scientific objectives. It is Leonardo, not Vitruvius, who points out that 'If you open the legs so as to reduce the stature by one-fourteenth and open and raise your arms so that your middle fingers touch the line through the top of the head, know that the centre of the extremities of the outspread limbs will be the umbilicus, and the space between the legs will make an equilateral triangle' (Accademia, Venice)." (http://leonardodavinci.stanford.edu/submissions/clabaugh/history/leonardo.html)

Another invention that Leonardo is famous for is represented by the underwater diving suit. The gear was conceived in order to allow for sneak attacks under water in case of war when the enemies would come by ships. The breathing was made possible by cane tubes which led up to the surface where a cork diving bell would float. The movement under water was also controlled with the help of a balloon. Through a valve the balloon could be inflated or deflated so the person had the possibility to sink or float according to his wish.The invention proves that he was interested in all the invention that would allow man to conquer all the dimensions of nature, air, water, land, etc. His philosophy was progress and that makes him a true Renaissance man. (http://www.da-vinci-inventions.com/scuba-gear.aspx)

As far as other scientific writings are concerned, one of the most famous collections is perhaps the Leicester Code. The writings include an attempt to deal with issues such as astronomy, rocks and fossils, water and light. One of his assumptions regarding the luminosity of the moon was later demonstrated by the German astronomer Johannes Kepler. Another of his areas of interest that the codex demonstrates is represented by the movement of water. Leonardo tried to explain its dynamics and what would happen if water encounter obstacles in its way. His studies in this area have been useful through the insights regarding the process of erosion and the construction of bridges. A third area of interest is represented by fossils. The research in the area gives relevant insight upon the creation of the mountains, a long period before the world accepted the validity of the theory regarding tectonic movements. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codex_Leicester_(Leonardo_da_Vinci))

Leonardo is extremely famous for some of his paintings and his genius in this area can not be denied, although we have already seen the facility with which he explored other areas as well. Two of his most famous paintings are the Monalisa and the Last supper. In the last supper the apostles are somehow grouped in groups of three leaving Jesus alone at the centre. All are nervous and agitated except for him. Monalisa is notorious for her smile, the perfection of her proportions and the mysterious muse which might have served as an inspiration for it. It is safe to say that the knowledge that Leonardo had in the areas of science and mathematics played an important part in his skills regarding painting. Perspective for example was a finding from the area of mathematical studies and he definitely used it wisely in both his paintings and his drawings. (http://www.spaceandmotion.com/philosophy-leonardo-da-vinci-art-science-quotes.htm)

As far as the drawings are concerned, they include projects of civil engineering (bridge construction), studies regarding the flight of the birds which he hoped would help him build a machine that allowed man to fly, military machines and inventions such as a submarine and also anatomic sketches. Under the influence of Andrea del Verrochhio who thought that studying anatomy will help Leonardo dedicated himself to the understanding of the human body from the inside and the outside therefore leaving us an important contribution in the field of anatomy as well. (http://www.spaceandmotion.com/philosophy-leonardo-da-vinci-art-science-quotes.htm)

His studies of the fossils and tectonic movements has proved to be useful even in the area of painting. Leonardo sets his characters on various types of rocks in order to transmit a symbolic message. His works having a religious theme are full of intricate symbols and statements regarding the divinity and its manifestation in the profane world. According to him the human world is not only sad and void but also inapt of reflecting the perfection of the holy world. Jesus is an element sent to help us in this direction. (http://western-philosophy.suite101.com/article.cfm/the-philosophy-in-leonardo-da-vincis-paintings)

Leonardo was an admirable thinker. He argued that people generally got lost in analyzing things which were hard to demonstrate, the purpose and the benefits of this demonstration not being very clear. Instead it would have been far wiser to concentrate these intellectual efforts towards the scientific understanding of the surrounding environment. His scientific method relied mostly upon scientific observation and experimenting. One of the things which makes him a true representative of the Renaissance ideal is his firm belief that the capacity of the human mind ad reason can be used to fabulous extents. According to him knowledge is the key that will allow the human being not only to demonstrate but also wisely use his freedom and his power. Knowledge allows us to understand the universe and therefore ourselves. Clearly all of his scientific and artistic endeavors were an attempt at this ideal of knowledge that was passed from the times of antiquity. His philosophy clearly influenced his creations regardless of the areas of work. Leonardo seems to be a genius and a sort of illuminated character with intellectual capacities greater than the ones of any other human, but we might motivate his genius through his immense ambitions and determination as well. He uses science in order to take art a step forward and art in order to have a better philosophical insight upon the human being itself. His… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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