Leonardo Da Vinci: Innovator, Creator, Generator

Leonardo Da Vinci, “The Renaissance Man” was one of the leading inspirations behind the “Renaissance Era”. This was a time of a celebrated rebirth, defined by imagination and creativity where artists and scientists prospered. Artists were free to express themselves in non-traditional ways, without the restrictions of dogmatic oppressions of previous generations. Da Vinci’s work paved the path for artists, scientists, and philosophers alike. Leonardo Da Vinci ultimately left a world-changing footprint on society, greatly impacting the future generations to come.

Leonardo Da Vinci derived his name from Vinci, a small town in Tuscan Italy in which he was raised.Leonardo Da Vinci was the son of Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci and a woman named Caterina (BBC History, 2014). The absence of historical documentation regarding his childhood is also one of the reasons he remains mysterious. One of the most historically interesting aspects about Da Vinci is the fact that he received a very minimal formal education as a child. When Leonardo was fifteen, his father made him an apprentice to the great artist, Verrocchio.

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Verrocchio, popular in Europe, was known as a very prestigious and elaborate artist (Leonardo Da Vinci, 2014). This is very interesting because Da Vinci worked for him at such a young age which showed that even when his talents were still developing, he was still an extraordinary artist. Many critics have labeled Leonardo Da Vinci as a failure because many of his ideas never came to fruition. However, one is forced to ask the question, was Leonardo Da Vinci a failure to the “Renaissance Era”, or did the “Renaissance Era” fail Leonardo Da Vinci? Everyone can agree that Leonardo Da Vinci’s creativity pushed the limits of technology of his time. However, many argue that Da Vinci’s creativity and inventions never fully materialized because there was not adequate or advanced enough technology to allow Da Vinci’s inventions to reach their full potential. For example, one of Da Vinci’s most innovative ideas was the Ornithopter.

This idea revolved around Da Vinci’s research of how the bird can take flight. The Ornithopter would physically let people soar like a bird through the air. However, this idea was so ahead of it’s time that there were no materials to correctly execute it. Even more extraordinary was his idea of the Robotic Knight. It would be very easy to draw parallels between the today’s drones used in war and Da Vinci’s idea of the Robotic Knight. Da Vinci actually sketched images of what he imagined the Robotic Knight to look like.

Along with his invention of the self propelling cart, this ‘knight” would be able to move on it’s own. He had hoped he would eventually be able to dispatch it onto the battlefield, but due to the lack of technology at that time, he was never able to accomplish those goals. However, it is rumored, that the Robotic Knights were often used as entertainment at parties. In 2002, robotics expert and NASA worker Mark Rosheim analyzed Da Vinci’s notes and created a working model of the Robotic Knight. It was so ingenious that Rosheim actually used these “bots” in his work at NASA and they eventually made it to outer space. Once again.

..Da Vinci’s ideas leading the way and inspiring future generations to come. Another point of interest, Da Vinci recorded notes on all of his creations and inventions. Over the generations, this has provided numerous records to reflect upon.

While many of his notes have been lost over the years, historians were still able to recover thousands of pages of his notes and use these ideas as a blueprint for today’s creations. An interesting fact is that Leonardo Da Vinci actually wrote most of his notes in something called Mirror Script. It was a special kind of shorthand writing he invented himself, similar to a secret code. Historians believe that Da Vinci wrote this way to prevent other artists or engineers from stealing his ideas and perceptions. To this day, people still find it very difficult to read Da Vinci’s writing.

The only times when Da Vinci wrote normal was when he intended for his work to be read and understood by others. Some of Da Vinci’s most brilliant ideas can be found in his greatly in-depth notes. Da Vinci revolutionized the study of human body with his anatomically proportionate notes and drawings. In fact, his drawings of the human body were some of the first in history (Justin, Caroline, 2014). This is critical because it redefined the way doctors think and look at the bdy. It also went against many beliefs at that time but from then on would act as a model for other images of the body.

Another idea of his is somewhat unrealistic but at the same time really inspiring; the “Ideal City”. The Ideal City in Da Vinci’s mind was a perfect world. This means that everything bad is gone and the bad is supplemented with good (Inventhelp, 2014). All the architecture in this world would be absolutely perfect with beautiful buildings and sculptures scattered all throughout the grounds. This was a key point in Da Vinci’s work because it was unlike many of his other plans.

This concept focuses not just on one single area, but combines Da Vinci’s talents as an artist, architect, engineer and inventor to create a masterpiece. Da Vinci is also known for his many inventions, and his work is still the groundwork for many projects created and used today. One of the more common inventions Da Vinci thought of was the army tank. In his early notes, he described it as a large moving tank that could travel in all directions and would contain major artillery on top (Inventhelp, 2014). His ideas revolutionized modern combat warfare. It has been a while since a war has been fought with swords and shields.

With our world’s booming technology, all that is on the battlefield are pretty much drones and large tanks. However, based upon the current geo-political landscape in today’s society, even the brilliant Da Vinci was unable to predict the evolution of precise drone warfare and massive atomic nuclear scale bombs. Although not as revolutionary as the army tank, Da Vinci’s idea of the parachute was groundbreaking in it’s own way. Leonardo’s drawings and descriptions in his notes are almost exactly what parachutes look like in the modern day (Inventhelp, 2014). Parachuting is a ubiquitous sport enjoyed by people all over the world. When people talk about the greatest artists of all time, Da Vinci’s name is always in the conversation.

Art historians as well as the general public would say that Da Vinci painted the greatest painting of all time, the Mona Lisa. This painting, a prized possession for many, now hangs in The Louvre, the most famous art museum in the world. The question is, why is the Mona Lisa so prominent? There is no definite answer to that question. However, most people say it is the curiosity of the painting that attracts them to it. The Mona Lisa has been puzzling to even the world’s greatest artist’s and scientist for centuries.

Maybe people admire it because it is royalty. Before the Mona Lisa was placed in the Louvre, it was owned by many kings and powerful emperors. Because of the Mona Lisa’s popularity, over the centuries, there have been many attempts of theft or damage. This is why the Mona Lisa is locked up in a bulletproof case (Shawn campbell, 2014). Another one of Da Vinci’s famous paintings was the Last Supper. The Last Supper portrayed Jesus’ last meal before he died (Shelley Esaak, 2014).

This painting was very popular in the way that it connected to many religious people and that it portrayed one of the most influential and well-known topics in history. Since there were not many known paintings about this topic, Da Vinci’s actually started being considered a model of what really happened. According to the bible, this painting perfectly demonstrated what happened that night of Jesus’ last supper. People connect to the Last Supper because in some religions it is one of the most important events in history. So when they study this story and eminent time in history, this painting beautifully illustrated by Da Vinci is the main picture to depict what truly happened. Lastly, this next painting was probably the most inspirational of all and no doubt was the most important to society.

It is called the Vitruvian Man. The Vitruvian Man displayed the human body in a more proportional form that changed the way we look at human bodies (Bio, 2014). Even today, most of the images of the human body are directly based off of this painting by Da Vinci (Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man, Interview by James Earle, TED, 2014). Leonardo Da Vinci is no doubt one of the greatest painters and artists of all time. The question remains, what made Da Vinci so spectacular and distinguished him as a genius above all others? Of course, he was far ahead of his time in critical and conceptual thinking about the biophysical and sociopolitical issues of the “Renaissance Era”. Simply put, he could innovate, create, and generate ideas and theories in ways that were foreign, yet inspiring to the average man.

Da Vinci was alive at a time called the “Renaissance Era”. Even though that was many years ago, scientists and mathematicians admit that Da Vinci was so prescient that even today in the “Information Era”, he would still be able to contribute with his ideas and could once again impact the world in an immense way. There are many parallels that can be drawn between the “Renaissance Era” of Leonardo Da Vinci’s time and the “Information Age” of our generation. Throughout the “Renaissance Era”, philosophers and scientists were exploding with new ideas and new concepts. The “Renaissance Era”, in a similar way, shaped the current generation we are living in, and provided the groundwork for the principles and scientific laws we use today. In the current “Information Age”, we also revise and come up with new theories and ideas every day.

The only thing that separates us is the use and level of technology. Back in the “Renaissance Era”, the technology was very limited which is ultimately the main reason a lot of Da Vinci’s work went unfinished. The crazy thing to think about is that, he had all these thoughts and ideas without the basic scientific principles and theories we have today. So it is hard to imagine what he could have done with today’s knowledge and technology. However, there are also some major differences about the two generations.

The “Information Age” inspires many cadres of younger generations to express their freedom and creativity, while in the “Renaissance Era”, sometimes artists or scientists were criticized or even punished for having ideas that were considered irregular. There are not many people today that would be comparable to Da Vinci. The most common name that comes to mind is Steve Jobs. Many people have actually called Jobs the modern Leonardo or “Da Vinci of the Information age”. This is because like Da Vinci, Jobs also provided the world with many booming and profound ideas. Da Vinci blessed the world with his inspirational artwork such as The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, and the Vitruvian Man.

Similarly, Steve Jobs blessed the world with his inspirational artwork of ITunes and the Iphone.Although, people say Jobs was much luckier than Da Vinci by being born in a generation when technology is very accessible. Leonardo Da Vinci’s legacy irrefutably is one that will forever leave an imprint on the world. With his ideas, inventions, paintings, and theories, he tested the limits of his time. Da Vinci is often known as “The Renaissance Man”; a man with many talents and abilities (Museum of Science, ND).

This has obviously been proven over the years. But what makes Da Vinci special is the way he used his talents. He revolutionized the way people see things. Using all his skills and knowledge in many fields, Da Vinci left his indelible mark on the world and inspired future artists and inventors to come. Clearly, a lot of work of future artists and scientists is based off of Da Vinci’s original ideas and concepts.

It is unbelievable that to this day, a lot of things he created are still used to help society. This is why Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the most inspirational and influential people of his time.