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Leonardo da Vinci described water as “the vehicle of nature” (vetturale di natura), water being to the world what blood is to our bodies. From his earliest landscape drawings of a river cascading over rocks (1473), to the famous Mona Lisa (1503) and to his final deluge sketches (1517-18), a lot of Leonardo’s paintings featured water.
As a polymath, he was able to combine his knowledge and ability in art, design, science, philosophy and engineering to design projects, ideas and instruments to test his hypotheses.
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Leonardo da Vinci is generally recognised as one of the great figures of the Renaissance and one of the greatest ever polymaths.
As the world marks the 500th anniversary of his death, it’s important to look at some of the ways in which he showed that he was a thinker who w...
Although da Vinci is best known for his artistic works, he considered himself more of a scientist than an artist. Mathematics – in particular, perspective, symmetry, proportions and geometry – had a significant influence over his drawings and paintings, and he was most certainly ahead of his time...
Leonardo knew of Vitruvius’s work – that with the navel as the centre, a perfect circle could be drawn around a body with outstretched arms and legs. He realised that if arm span and height are related, the person would fit perfectly inside a square. His Vitruvian Man took these ...
Ornithopters, human-powered flying machines which mimicked bird flight, were a fascination for him – and he drew many beautiful and innovative designs. However, bird flight was not fully understood at this time and he was unaware that a human being could never generate the required power to opera...
Leonardo’s Last Supper is a prime example of the use of the mathematics of perspective. The architecture of the building around Jesus and the 12 apostles, as well as lines on the floor beneath the table, create a “vanishing point”, providing a subconscious focal point for the painting.
Leonardo da Vinci is renowned for his inventions, works of art, studies of architecture and anatomical drawings.
The documents that survive show us his ideas for a wide range of devices, such as gliders, helicopters, parachutes, diving suits, cranes, gearb...
In many of Leonardo’s portraits, it is almost impossible to say when one colour ends and another starts – and this is evident in some crucial parts of his paintings, such as the mouths of his sitters.
For example, the Laboratoire du Centre de Recherche et de Restauration des Musées de Franc...
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