Leanardo Da Vinci – The Master Polymath

Do you see that the eye embraces the beauty of the world… And it triumphs over nature, in that the constituent parts of nature are finite, but the works that the eye commands of hands are infinite.

Leanardo Da Vinci

Walter Isaacson’ biography of Leanardo Da Vinci gave a comprehensive history of the man who was not just a painter but a polymath who had immense curiosity. Leanardo when found something curious or that interested him, noted down in inverted mirror Latin scripts on sheets of paper which he carried with him all his life. These notebooks are called called a Codex and there are parts of them across the world. Recently Bill Gates showed one of this Projects that help people understand Codex Leicester. We understand Leanardo’s thinking, how he connected a wide discipline through the many notebooks that are available.

The Codex Leicester is a collection of scientific writings by Leonardo da Vinci and was purchased by Bill Gates in an auction.

Leanardo grew up and started his career in Florence in the 15th century during the peak of the Renaissance period and it would have been a magical place. A kid from a small town of Vinci near Florence could become one of the greatest painters of all time because of his non traditional approach to problems and having an artistic solution. He also had Michaelangelo, Nicola Machiavelli, Raphael as his contemporaries and worked alongside or known him.

The Florence Duomo built by Filippo Brunelleschi was a great inspiration for Da Vinci and other Renaissance period artists. 

Leanardo couldn’t completed most of his paintings/art works. Some were stopped due to war as patronage was not given due to emergency and other times Leanardo kept working on the art work for years and never gave back to the people who originally commissioned them. He thought they were not perfect or can be improved and as he learned new techniques he tried them on his existing work.

Anatomical studies of the shoulder

Leanardo was an Anatomist, War Engineer, Painter, Sculptor and much more. He understood the internal anatomy of human body and made sure his sculptures and paintings reflected what he learnt. He built a river flow system for river Arno after he spent hours understanding fluid dynamics and flow of water. This interdisciplinary transfer of ideas make Leanardo a Master polymath.

We can learn a lot from Leanardo, this interdisciplinary thinking and connecting the dots across a wide spectrum of fields is key to build solutions to complex problems.