Why The Vitruvian Man is so Important to Modern Art?

Leonardo da Vinci had one of the most intriguing minds. He was good at science, art and could study difficult subjects by himself. He was acclaimed during his time and still influences modern society because of his earlier inventions and theories. His most notable works include the “Mona Lisa”, his theory of the flying machines, and draft of the “Vitruvian Man”.

The Vitruvian Man comprises of the epitomes of the male human form. This name borrows from the Ancient Roman architect Vitruvius and his work.

The Vitruvian Man is a drawing done on paper and has handwritten notes. The drawing showcases two male figures overlaid on each other. The diagram illustrates the arms and legs at different angles. One of the figures has the legs slightly apart and arms coming out of the shoulders at right angles. The other man has reasonably spread his legs and his arms are at a different angle from the first drawing.

The head and torso of these two figures completely cover each other. They are both adorned with a square and circle to display the geometric extents of the body. The marking on the body demonstrates the points that form comparative measurements. There are also shadings and notes that detail the anatomical features.

Both Vitruvius and da Vinci had passion for ideas outside their main areas of expertise. They both loved the idea of geometry and proportions. In his designs, da Vinci employed his knowledge of mathematics, astronomy and medicine. They helped him perfect his architectural designs.

What they came up with influences how the volume of irregular objects is measured. The Vitruvian Man represents the ideologies that Leonardo was advancing. It represents all the interest that da Vinci had. It combines his passion for art and science.

These two lines of study become one in the Vitruvian Man. The two are normally regarded separately but this is changing. Scientists are working with artists to come up with inventive designs that are also beautiful.

The combination of art and science presents a new and exciting angle to creations. Da Vinci understood that how the human body works can be equated to the intricacies of the greater universe. This principal still has application in various schools of thought. He meant to combine man and nature and portray them as a single entity. They are similar yet different.

Da Vinci had a brilliant mind that is behind the schemes for later machines that were actualized hundreds of years later. His discoveries are still making an impact. It is like he saw the future and imagined things way before they would be actualized.

He had traits of a Renaissance man because of his interest in art, science, and everything. He also possessed traits of a modern man with his interest in discovering the truth, placing man in his place in the universe and linking things together or finding correlation between items.

The Vitruvian Man is an embodiment of mathematics and artistic theories. Its value is in revealing the Leonardo’s nature and his brilliance. It shows his scientific and artistic dexterity and is a symbol of his advanced and inventive theories. These ideas are still useful in modern society and affect innovation.

Why is the Mona Lisa so famous?

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa is one of the most recognized pieces of art in the world. It has been analyzed and criticized by the art world for hundreds of years. Why are people so fascinated with this painting? Is it because da Vinci was such an incredible painter and overall artist? The painting is one of the great mysteries of the art world. Who was the subject and why does she seem to be smirking? There are many theories about da Vinci’s intentions with this painting. Could the painting actually be over analyzed? There may be no mystery at all.

The Mona Lisa took around three years to complete. Da Vinci worked on it from 1503 to 1506. This painting is over 500 years old yet is still relevant today. The most obvious reason why people are so fascinated with this painting is the expression the woman is wearing. She seems to be smiling but it’s a closed mouth smile. Does the smile come from her eyes, her mouth or both? Many think she’s smiling that way because the subject actually had no teeth. Others speculate that she was either pregnant or had just had a child. It could be that da Vinci had a special relationship with this woman and she was sharing a secretive, conspiring smirk with the artist.

The subject of the painting is also a mystery. Many believe she was a woman from Florence Italy named Lisa Gherardi. This is speculation from art historians. Some believe there really is no mystery. There is a theory held that this was simply a portrait commissioned by a loved one of the subject. It was common in those days for a husband to have a portrait painted of his wife. The subject may have been the wife of a wealthy man who wanted a way to immortalize his wife’s beauty.

Leonardo da Vinci himself was a very interesting man who dabbled in many different kinds of art, along with science and other endeavors. He was ahead of his time in his art and his inventions. Da Vinci has to be part of the reason people love to talk about this painting so much. One wonders what kind of relationship da Vinci had with the subject. Did he direct her to give this mysterious smile? It makes you consider what da Vinci would think if he knew that over 500 years later people were still dissecting the meaning behind his most famous work of art.

If you want to see the Mona Lisa in person, travel to Paris France. It is held in the Louvre behind bullet proof glass. The fact that it is so protected shows how valuable and unique the painting is. Since Da Vinci himself can’t answer the questions people have about the painting, one can only speculate. What exactly was his goal in painting the Mona Lisa? Perhaps it really is over analyzed and was simply a portrait commissioned by someone. It’s unlikely that the truth will ever really be known but it is fun to speculate. The mystery behind this painting is the reason we’re still talking about it today.

How da Vinci’s Journaling Made Him a Better Artist

Leonardo da Vinci was a man of many talents. He was an artist, inventor, athlete, scientist and musician. He was good at both work and play. Some of his creations have been acclaimed worldwide for years.

Da Vinci was a genius because of his stellar creations and their ability to inspire others to be just as creative. His creation was mesmerizing, and at times tiresome to comprehend. He was always learning and creating new things.
He used his acumen well and had habits that made him a better artist.

Leonardo Da Vinci had a notebook with him at all times. He liked to record any ideas that came to mind. He also took note of observations and imprints. His notebook had tales and jokes. He jotted down what he liked about other scholars, his own insights, prophesies and painting.

His journals also had details about his finances, thoughts on home difficulties, philosophy, inventions, and articles on geology, anatomy, botany, water and flight.

To him, keeping a journal was a healthy habit. It helped him mentally and physically. Science also supports this theory about the benefits of having a journal. A journal helps to unclog the mind, ease negative feelings and simplify thoughts. It further helps to solve problems commendably and enhance immunity.

He is renowned for his artistic creation. He is the creator of the “The Last Supper” and “Mona Lisa” paintings. He further learned engineering from his personal studies. He was motivated to learn and he constantly asked questions and did experiments.

He lived in Italy in the in the mid-1400s at a time when there was no electricity and clocks. Still, he was an engineer, and a gifted theoretical and practical inventor. His artistry led him to discover mechanical ideas that have contributed greatly to modern society.

He focused on developing new machines and improving the living standards of people and animals. He used his drawings and notes to make better designs and enhance his engineering.

Da Vinci studied and designed war apparatus such as the catapults, tanks, machine guns and submarines. He drew plans for a three-wheeled and self-propelling device. He was skilled in geometry and making architectural designs of canals, churches and fortresses.

Because he was mostly self-taught, his journal was very important in educating him on what others were doing and what he could improve on. He wrote dozens of journals and filled them with inventions and theories.

He used his intellect and imagination creatively. His notes had inventions such as the bicycle, the helicopter and airplane. He had a hunger for knowledge and was always drawing, observing, inventing and experimenting. His journal was the tool that recorded all this.

Most of his drawings were on his notebook. He wrote down his line of thought and ideas for his paintings. He observed and noted different gestures and poses. He also made notes of the performances of actors on stage, marking their position and also included input from the world around him. His observations are behind the drawings such as the “Virgin of the Rocks”.

Leonardo was good at noting sketches, ideas and images from his imagination. He captured his observations on animals, humans, plants and motion of water.

10 Things You Didn’t Know About Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was a man of mystery and even today, we know less about him than we do about Lady Gaga. However, through his art and the remaining notebooks that have been discovered and rediscover we get a picture of a man with a protean genius and an insatiable curiosity about the world. Today you are about to learn 10 little know facts about this man who was called the “Universal Man” and the “Renaissance Man” that you might not be aware of.

It is with the hope your curiosity will be aroused and you will seek out more information about the man, the artist, and the thinker to help you look at the world with new eyes and a child’s curiosity once more.

1) Leonardo was raised by his father.

Leonardo’s father never married his mother and though Leonardo lived with her until he was 5 years old, he was never really that close with her. After 5 years, he went to live with his father who raised him and got him his apprenticeship to Andrea Del Verrocchio in 1467. Verrocchio was the official sculpture to the Medici family and this would allow Leonardo his first taste of what an artist’s life was like. Apprenticeship was a common way to teach a trade to an illegitimate child who could never hope to inherit and it allowed one to earn a living and perhaps gain station in life though barred from the aristocracy of the time because of paternity.

2) Leonardo received no formal schooling.

Much has been made of the fact Leonardo had no formal education. However, it should be remembered at this time home education often trumped formal education as the rich hired tutors of the best quality. Leonardo’s talents in art allowed him also to be apprenticed to one of the best artists in Italy at the time.

Yet the apprentice system was probably one of the finest ways to hone one’s skills as you lived and breathed the work often 24 hours a day as compared to our multi-topical system of today where scant hours are Spent covering a range of topics and only to the extent of passing an exam. Then the knowledge is conveniently forgotten to make room for the next test.

In Leonardo’s time, mastery was the only criteria and you stayed with a lesson until it was done to the master’s often-grudging approval.

3) Leonardo’s writings were never published during his lifetime.

The thousands of pages of Leonardo’s documents, sketches, and writings were never for public consumption. He wrote mostly for himself rather than posterity. After his death, they were sold off and scattered to the four winds and only later was an effort made to recover them and put them in some kind of order.

A large amount of Leonardo’s work is lost still and is perhaps still to be found in some forgotten cubbyhole in a dusty Libra somewhere in Europe or in a private family collection.

Who knows what treasures and secrets are still waiting to be discovered?

4) None of his amazing inventions were ever built

For all Leonardo’s understanding and creativity, almost all of his inventions were never built or displayed.

One recorded instance of a mechanical garden created by Leonardo for his patrons amusement is one of the only recorded instances where his ingenuity was made into reality. However recently it has come to light through a newly discovered codex of drawings and notes that Leonardo may have created some of the first robots. This was in the form of a knight in armor and could stand and move its arms. This was all done to amuse another patron in 1495. Discovered in the 1950s these plans and drawings were used to build a replica and it worked exactly as described. Leonardo’s inventions were conceptually far ahead of his time and if he had a power source the world would be much different from what it is today.

5) Leonardo gained notoriety as a musician first instead of an artist.

Most people do not know that Leonardo was also a gifted artist and his first exposure to court life in Renaissance Italy was not for his paintings, sculpture, and mechanical acumen, but for his ability with the lyre of which it is said he could play like an angel. This is high praise indeed, as the Church controlled much of the wealth in Europe and getting commissions for art, music, and sculpture from the clergy was how many of the great artists survived to ply their art.

6) Bill Gates shelled out big bucks for the only non-European codex of his papers.

In 1994, Microsoft Billionaire Bill Gates purchased Leonardo’s Codex Leicester for over $30 million dollars. This book has the distinction of being the highest priced book every sold. It is probably the most important of the 30 Leonardo collections as it details much of his scientific observations and writings, written shortly after finishing the Mona Lisa when Leonardo was in his 50s it shows his genius at the peak of his career and artistic ability around 1508.

7) Leonardo left Florence after he was accused of sodomy.

Leonardo was brought up on sodomy charges in 1476 by anonymous sources. While many believe, it was done by jealous artist angered at Leonardo’s sudden rise to fame. Others believe it was an attempt to discredit the Medici family who were Leonardo’s patrons at the time. Machiavelli himself was a close personal friend of Leonardo.

This is reminiscent of the current Bill Cosby scandal where women have come forth to accuse Mr. Cosby of sexual impropriety. In Mr. Cosby’s case, much of his good works are being forgotten and even the Cosby show, which has been a hallmark in Black Entertainment, has now been tarnished and is being pulled from Public viewing.

However, in Renaissance Florence charges of sexual proclivity if proven true resulted in the death penalty. Something Mr. Cosby does not have to fear.

Though nothing was proven against Leonard, it was enough of a traumatic experience to haunt him and he left Florence for Milan to start his life over there.

8) Some believe one of the Apostils in the Last supper is Leonardo himself.

A news story broke in the Daily Mail from Oct 18 poses the theory that the Renaissance Master used himself as the model for not one but two of the apostles seated with Jesus in his masterpiece the “Last Supper.”

As reported in the Daily Mail gleaned from the original source is that Dr. Ross King a noted Art Historian believes that Leonardo’s face is that of Thomas and James the lesser based on his long study of Leonardo’s art and eccentricities. One of which is the raised finger pointing skyward which is thought to be a hidden signature of Leonardo’s. The other is that the face of Thomas bears a striking resemblance to a red Chalk drawing of the master himself.

9) Leonardo was a procrastinator and many of his works were never finished.

Many of Leonardo’s famous works were in fact never finished. His famous Bronze Horse and Rider were never completed due to war and Leonardo’s cost over-runs. St. Jerome in the Wilderness was also never completed.

However one of the greatest of his achievements the “Virgin on The Rocks” was never completed and like the Mona Lisa the artist keep it with him until he died.

However, while many accuse Leonardo of being slow and a procrastinator, this writer believes he was much smarter than that. In the Renaissance, you live on the patronage of others. So, it behooved you to keep your client happy and yet stretch out the time to complete a project as you had money, room, and board and lived well as long as you were doing the patron’s bidding.

This today is being duplicated by many an independent contractor or consultant.

10) Leonardo was secretly a Heretic.

You only have to look through his writings and drawing to see that much of what Leonardo believed ran contra to the religious Tennant’s of the time. If his books were to have been made public, he might well have been burned at the stake along with all his papers and artwork.

This has also raised questions about his possible membership in the Rosicrucian Order and some even suggest he was a driving force behind it.

Today it is known that the order embraces Leonardo as one of its luminaries. Leonardo was also linked with the Illuminati and that has even been portrayed in books and movies as well.

But he did get away with a lot. He performed human dissections when it was a crime to do so and very harshly punished one at that. So, he was able to advance our knowledge in spite of the times and that in itself is the mark of one who embraces the Rosicrucian ideals and Illuminati creed.

You be the judge and see for yourself.

Final words

Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest geniuses ever and his fertile mind was only con trained by the technology of the time. It is hoped by reading about this fascinating man you will be insured to look at the world as he did and who know you too might have your notebooks sold at Christie’s for $30 million dollars some day.

10 of Leonardo da Vinci’s Greatest Inventions

Leonardo da Vinci was the greatest inventive mind of the Renaissance. Not only was a master painter and sculptor he was a mechanical genius and we now know he could and probably did create automatons capable of simple actions that mimic the human in both form and function. Today, you will become acquainted with 10 of his greatest inventions.

Some of these have only seen the light of day in the last few years and further examination of the existing and known papers hint at even more marvels yet to be discovered.

When you have finished reading this article, you’ll be amazed at the breadth and width of his genius and perhaps there are even more surprises in store as more and more da Vinci materials are being unearthed.

Remember that the majority of da Vinci’s notebooks and papers have never been located and they may still waiting to be discovered in some forgotten corner of a used bookshop or forgotten library in Europe.

1) Helicopter

Properly speaking this would be called an “Air Screw” as it would be built using a screw shaped airfield to drive air downward and thereby creating lift. There is no record of his device being made. However, copies of his manned glider have been flown successfully. Both as models and as full sized versions as well.

2) Parachute

Along with his designs for gliders and ornithopters, he also designed equipment to escape or “bail out” of them and his parachute was the result. It was recreated in the year 200 and it worked as advertised. The daredevil who build and tested it landed safely and said that it gave a better ride down than conventional designs now in use. Again almost 500 years later da Vinci is vindicated.

This leads one to ask what are hidden in the many thousands of missing papers and notebooks still waiting to be rediscovered.

3) Diving Suit

While da Vinci is mostly noted for his studies of birds and his war inventions, he, however, was fascinated by water and all things connected with it. His underwater suits either used bladder filled with air or a bell that performed the same function. The unusual addition was a special mechanism to allow the divers to urinate while underwater allowing them to say down potential as long as needed. The suits may have been created as invaders that these suits were created to fight, by drilling holes in the attacking vessels hulls. The entire issue was rendered moot when the invaders were defeated by the Venetian navy.

4) Tank

General George Patton and Erwin Rommel the “Desert Fox” brought the concept of tank warfare to a high art. However, Leonardo Da Vinci foresaw the use of tanks and armored fighting vehicles. He even worked out the use of infantry supporting the vehicle as it made its way across the battlefield. This was done in 1487 over 450 years before America’s entry into World War II.

5) Machine Gun

During WW I, the Machine Gun became the king of the battlefield and even today most armies build their military strategies around the use of crew served weapons and the use of automated machine guns were created to protect forward firebases in Vietnam and even today high-security areas have more advanced variants of these weapons. As of this writing,  S.W.O.R.D. robots are being deployed to world trouble spots to test new generations of machine guns.

Da Vinci designed an 8-barrel machine gun of his own. However, the design was rejected as it was considered a cruel and dishonorable way to wage war.

Sadly, the world has changed its mind since then and weapons of area killing have become the rule rather than the exception.

6) Leonardo’s Robots

Found in a dusty corner of a library stuffed in with some old papers were some lost diagrams of what appeared to be a mechanical man. This created shockwaves worldwide, as after they were integrated with the scattered pieces of Leonardo’s other notebooks by an NASA Engineer was the mystery was finally solved. Later in Berlin, a fully working model was reconstructed. It could sit, stand, and even raise its visor with its hand, this lead credence to the many stories of Leonardo’s genius with all things mechanical. Since then many of his other automata have been duplicated and all are fully functional as described in the many surviving eyewitness documents. So, Isaac Asimov may have to step down as the father of robotics in history books of speculative fiction.

7) Ball Bearing

While this may not sound like much. However, the entire world would grind to a halt without this simple device. Germany’s war machine was stopped when the allies bombed their ball bearing plants as this integral part of virtually ever thing from cars, aircraft, and rocketry production ground to a halt. Leonardo thought the idea up between 1498 and 1500. If any had followed up on this or any of Leonardo’s other inventions where would we be now?!? But remember every thing Leonardo invented except for select items were kept a deep dark secret until many years after his death.

8) Viola Organista

Many are unaware that Leonardo was a consummate musician and some feel if he had not been apprenticed to Verrocchio he might have become a famous musical talent instead that of an artist. One of his more unusual musical instruments was his Viola Organista, which combine many instruments into one instrument, which could be considered the forerunner of the music synthesizer. A replica was constructed and played in concert in Poland in 2013. This again shows that Leonardo was not only just a painter but also a Polymath Artist who knew no limits for music, art, and science.

9) Leonardo’s Lion

With the discovery of Leonardo’s Robot sparked interest in other forms of Leonardo’s Automata one of the most interesting was his mechanical lion that walked wagged its tail and opened up to display the fleurs-de-lis of France at King Francois I’s pageant celebrating his coronation. The Lion Symbol of Florence and the flower symbolized France.

It was recreated 500 years later

This has opened up speculation about other of Da Vinci’s mechanical marvels such as flying birds and singing animals that once inhabited a menagerie, he supposedly created for his patron’s amusement were, in fact, real also. The lion was recreated in France in 2009 at the Château du Clos Lucé and PARC where Leonardo spent his last years of his life. This and his other inventions showed that Da Vinci could not only work wonders in science and the arts but also blend them together as well for the enjoyment of all.

10) Keeping Time

Leonardo also was fascinated with the concept of time and if one thinks of all the inventions he created, he himself could be the “Traveler” talked about in H.G. Wells book “The Time Machine.” Perhaps Wells had met Leonardo as he was passing through the 19th century and later was stranded in the 1500’s. Many people have speculated that Leonardo was a man out of place and could very well be a shipwrecked space traveler or Time Traveler. Some interesting speculative fiction stories have explored this concept.

However, Leonardo designed a timepiece that used two separate mechanisms, one for the hours and one for minutes that used an unusual and complicated system to get them to synchronize and work together. It might be noted that Leonardo’s clock was far beyond anything currently in use during the 15th century. It even rivals timepieces made today by the Swiss. It used diamonds and other minerals to allow the various gears and springs to move with almost no friction.

Parting thoughts

Leonardo was the definition of the Renaissance Man, an ideal that is almost forgotten in this age of specialization and pigeonholing of people. The clock is now a harsh taskmaster instead of an aid to help one keep track of time. Many of his inventions are now in common use and if you look at the results, they have wrought in today’s world. Perhaps he was wiser than we are, by hiding them for over 500 years. Look around you and decide for yourself if the world is a better place or not with all of the inventions that he created 500 years ago.