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Leonardo Da Vinci

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Leonardo Da Vinci lived during the Renaissance in the 14th century. He was known as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist. His influences in the society and his inventions have become so significant that even in today’s world; we are still wondering about him and using the same technologies he had foreseen more than 500 years ago. A self-taught genius, who lived life through experiences, and experiences are the focal points of his entire life. With the help of two simple tools, a notebook and a pen, Leonardo was able to carry out the evolution of nature, art, technology, and humanism in details through sketches and writings. Ultimately, his notebook has changed humankind from the way we think, see, and judge to the awareness of our freedom forever.
Leonardo Da Vinci was born on Saturday, April 15, 1452 at 10:30 P.M. in a small town of Vinci. Because Leonardo’s mother and father were never married, he was disqualified from membership in the Guild of Notaries. Thus, Leonardo was ineligible in the footsteps of his father, an accountant. was artist of the Renaissance (the period of Western European history stretching from the early 14th century to the mid to late 16th century),. His deep love for nature, knowledge, research and experience, was the central reason of both his artistic and scientific accomplishments. " Though I have no power to quote from authors as they do I shall rely on a bigger and more worthy thing-on experience."{The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci pg.2} His originality in the field of painting influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death, and his scientific studies--particularly in the fields of anatomy, optics, and hydraulics--anticipated many of the developments of modern science. His amazing powers of observation and skill as an illustrator enabled him to notice and recreate the effects he saw in nature, and added a special liveliness to his portraits. Curious as well as observant, he constantly tried to explain what he saw, and described many experiments to test his ideas. Because he wrote down and sketched so many of his observations in his Notebooks, it's known that he was among the very first to take a scientific approach towards understanding how our world works, and also reveal his sense of freedom, by disagreeing with the authorities (Bible, Aristotle, Plato) of his time. Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the greatest figures of Renaissance due to his contributions to the world artistically, scientifically and more importantly his freedom of thought, according to his Notebooks.
Leonardo's close relationship with nature along with his curiosity led him to many discoveries that have become exceedingly useful to all humans. For example, he discovered that all aspects of nature function according to laws " nature does not break her law; nature is constrained by the logical necessity of her law which is inherent in her"{pg. 7} and also that nature is always evolving. " With time everything changes" {pg. 22}. He was the first person to introduce the principle of "cause and effect". This principle is based on the concept that nature begins with an effect, and through experience we must investigate the cause. " In nature there is no effect without cause; understand the cause and you will have no need of the experiment". {pg.7}
As a scientist Leonardo outdid all his generation. His scientific theories, like his artistic innovations, were based on careful observation and precise mathematical measurements. " No human investigation can be called true science without passing through mathematical tests"{pg.8} He understood, better than anyone of his century or the next, the importance of accurate scientific observations and experiments. " Many will think that they can with reason blame me, alleging that my proofs are contrary to the authority... not considering that my works are the issue of simple and plain experience which is the true mistress" {pg.1}. This quotation also demonstrates that he was seeking freedom of speech and thought and he gained freedom by expressing himself through his notebooks. Leonardo criticized the science of his time, for example alchemy, because it was not natural and referred to it as false science. He viewed science in a different light and believed the only way one can rely on science is by experimenting. " This experiment should be made many times so that no accident may occur to hinder of falsely this proof"{pg. 9}. He also believed that we observe and experience through our five senses, and what we imagine does not exist because we cannot see it. This theory was contrary to Plato's famous theory that there is another spiritual world. Once again Leonardo expressed his freedom of thought and argued against what was considered authority at his time. By studying fossil records he proved that the planet was older than the Bible states. Therefore, he also freely mentions in his Notebooks that he does not accept the Bible as an authoritative manual of science. He further argues that if the authority is not based on experiment, it's not valid. He also studied human anatomy, circulation of the blood, and the action of the eye. He was among the originators of the science of hydraulics and invented the hydrometer; his design for the canalization of rivers still has practical value. He invented a large number of creative machines; many potentially useful, among them embodied sound principles of aerodynamics and flying devices, which assisted the numerous inventors to come.
Leonardo seemed to be fascinated with the concept of flight. He based all the experiments that he performed on flight, on wind. " In order to give the true science of the flight of birds through the air you must first give the science of the winds"{pg. 88}. Leonardo applied the notion of human freedom not only in criticizing the authorities but also in the sense of physical freedom or in other words human flight. In fact he was the first person to come up with sketches of flying machines. He was also the first one to realize that in order for a flying machine to work he must understand the science of the winds, and in addition the movement and the structure of the birds. He observed that birds rely less on their wings than on exploiting air currents and wind. He therefore examined how birds, when struck by air currents, manage to keep their balance by moving their wings and tails. " The helms are... necessary for they keep the bird poised and motionless in the air as it faces the course of the wind"{pg93}. At the same time, he made an anatomical study of bird wings. These investigations led Leonardo to invent flying machines. Leonardo devised plans for prototypes of an airplane, and a helicopter.
He compared air to water, and flight to swimming. Based on the idea of helicopters he sketched a submarine, but he was clever enough not to publish his design since evil men would use it for harmful reasons. " This I do not publish or divulge on account of the evil nature of men who would practice assassination."{pg.97-97}. In addition to all the above, Leonardo Da Vinci is mainly known for his paintings.
Leonardo is known around the world for his paintings. He viewed art as a form of science and in his perspective an artist was suppose to acknowledge and observe many concepts prior his attempt to paint. He also believed that the foundation of art relied on studying the function of the eye. " The eye which is the window of soul is the chief organ"{pg.110}. From studying the eye closely he was able to discover the technique of perspective, which included a mathematical method of creating three-dimensional space.
Another aspect of his painting that was different at his time was the creation of the illusion of depth and distance. The notion of light and its function was also another essential part of Leonardo's paintings. He discovered the function of the pupil by creating a pine hole camera, which enabled him to understand the function of light rays and that they travel in straight lines, which he used in his paintings. The reason why the "Mona Lisa", is famous is due to the profound facial expressions. Leonardo explained in his Notebooks that the artist must know of human anatomy, in order to capture the spirit of the object. His main goal was to paint with realism. He learned to create lifelike people and animals, and became skilled at creating the illusion of depth and distance on flat walls and canvases by using the techniques of linear perspective, which, is a mathematical system for creating the illusion of space and distance on a flat surface such as a canvas or wall. Leonardo was among the first to introduce atmospheric perspective into his landscape backgrounds, an especially notable characteristic of his paintings. He also adapted his drawing skills to the more profitable professions of Architecture, Military, Engineering, Canal building and weapon design. In order to paint human beings he took up studying human anatomy. He illustrated his sense of freedom in his paintings by drawing Angles with wings similar to birds.
He as well studied cosmology. He constructed a basic telescope to view the moon. " Construct glasses in order to see the moon larger"{pg.53}. By closely observing nature he discovered that the sun does not move, but the earth moves around the sun, which shows another illustration of Leonardo's freedom of thought, and going against the authorities, since at his time people believed the contrary. He was also aware of the notion of gravity and stated that gravitational forces hold the moon; also revealed that the sun was the center of the universe. His interest in outer space was another way of expressing his sense of freedom of mind and uniqueness.
His knowledge about the universe and its belongings led Leonardo to many inventions. He was particularly interested in water, he believes that water was the driver of the universe. He later on built the biggest canal of his time form the knowledge he had gathered throughout his life. He also explains in his Notebooks the notions of gravity, force, weight, and motion. His mechanical inventions are all the product of the knowledge he had gained through experiencing and studying the above. "Speak of motion and impetus. Speak of wheels rotating one way."{pg.78}
Leonardo Da Vinci's contributions to human freedom and discoveries in science and art are remarkable for his time. Due to Leonardo's remarkable illustrations, European artists began to study the mode of nature more closely and to paint with the goal of great realism by using the techniques of perspective. He opened the doors of human freedom for many thinkers that came after him. His sense of freedom and independence is seen throughout his work. What makes Leonardo exceptional is the notion that he acquired all his knowledge through experience. In Leonardo's period freedom of thought or speech did not exist, as it does today. All persons were forced to agree and go along with authorities, which at that time were the Bible, Plato and Aristotle. If people were critical of the authorities they would deal with deadly consequences. Leonardo did not hesitate; using his Notebooks he expressed his thoughts freely. Throughout his life he questioned and criticized the authorities. His freedom of thought and courageousness opened many doors for other scholars.

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