He is among the most influential artists in history, having left a significant legacy not only in the realm of art but in science as well, each discipline informing his mastery of the other. Da Vinci lived in a golden age of creativity among such contemporaries as Raphael and Michaelangelo, and contributed his unique genius to virtually everything he touched. Like Athens in the age of Pericles, Renaissance Italy is a summit in human history.
Messenger Leonardo da Vinci, as we know, was the epitome of the Renaissance man. We know that he was a genius, a polymath, a pioneer in fields as diverse as anatomy and hydrodynamics.
We know that Leonardo invented the tank, the helicopter, the flying machine, the parachute, and the self-powered vehicle. Leonardo the inventor is subject to legends in much the same way as the Mona Lisa.
The Mechanics of Genius makes abundantly clear. He was trained in Florence in the s, when the workshops of some major artists not only took on art in every kind of medium but also tasks that we would now classify as engineering — both civil and military.
This brought the young engineer into direct contact with the lifting and construction devices of the great Filippo Brunelleschiarchitect of the dome. These artist-engineers were employed to produce a wide range of practical machines of the kind that rarely leave their mark in written and drawn records.
Leonardo, for instance, produced ingenious designs for the sluices of lock gates. We know about this because of a memorandum in which he speaks of sluices for rivers that he arranged for the Venetians inwhen he was visiting the maritime republic.
Model of an armoured vehicle. Like all prospectuses, the treatises were designed to make an impression. It is high on shock and awe and low on practicality — as the designer and his patron would have realised. Other famous designs have been misread. Rather, it is a device of technological entertainment.
Its distance of travel would have been finite. Nobody was ever more adept in envisaging how to solve technical problems, often by transmitting motion in one plane into another using intricate arrays of gears, cams, axles and levers. Locating genius If we step back from the individual inventions, we can see that his genius an engineer rests on three foundations.
Design of a spiral gear for a barrel spring. The first is that he saw clearly how the design of machines must be informed by the mathematical laws of physics rather than just relying upon practice. For instance, he realised that if the power of an unwinding spring diminished according to a mathematical ratio, any device to compensate for this must be designed in accordance with the mathematics.
As such, he invented a series of conical and spiral gears that could be mounted on the axle of a barrel-spring to counteract the unwinding. He was also the first to design separate components that could be deployed in a variety of devices.
And no-one ever drew machines with more attention to reality. The solid section above the barrel spring brilliantly shows how two cylindrical sleeves at either end of the axle of the conical lantern gear slide on the vertical shaft to accommodate its climb up the helter-skelter ramp.
Bird wings, mechanical and natural.Detail showing The Son of Man from The Last Judgement fresco on the wall of the Sistine Chapel in Rome, () by Michelangelo. One of the great works of Biblical art in the Vatican.
Read an Excerpt. Leonardo da Vinci CHAPTER 1 Childhood Vinci, – DA VINCI Leonardo da Vinci had the good luck to be born out of wedlock. Otherwise, he would have been expected to become a notary, like the firstborn legitimate sons in his family stretching back at least five generations.
Da Vinci’s uncle, who had a particular appreciation for nature that da Vinci grew to share, also helped raise him. Leonardo da Vinci: Early Career Da Vinci received no formal education beyond basic reading, writing and math, but his father appreciated his artistic talent and apprenticed him at around age 15 to the noted sculptor and painter Andrea .
Leonardo da Vinci, as we know, was the epitome of the Renaissance man. We know that he was a genius, a polymath, a pioneer in fields as diverse as anatomy and hydrodynamics.
We know that Leonardo invented the tank, the helicopter, the flying machine, the parachute, and the self-powered vehicle. Da Vinci — The Genius Gain insight into the mind of a genius and the fundamental scientific and artistic principles he discovered.
The Renaissance Man. Leonardo Da Vinci (): Biography of Italian Renaissance Painter, Best-Known for Mona Lisa Portrait, Last Supper Fresco, Vitruvian Man Drawing.