Module: Sociology of Design
Assignment 3: Leonardo DaVinci

M.Des 1.1
Name: Harshal Desai
Lecturer: Arabella
Date of Submi...
TABLE OF CONTENTS
About Leonardo Da Vinci ...................................................................................
ABOUT LEONARDO DA VINCI

Artist…Scientist...Inventor…Mathematician…Engineer… these are a few professions that can
describe...
Figure 1: Wings of Leonardo (Source: http://ascriptor.blogspot.com/2010/09/wings-of-leonardo.html)

He believed that man w...
REALISM AND PERSPECTIVE

During the Renaissance era, several artists based their work on nature, studying its details in
o...
Leonardo practiced using the window or a sheet of clear glass as a device for drawing
perspective accurately while he was ...
ABOUT THE SCHEMATIC

Leonardo was particularly fascinated with flight. He invented a conceptual flying machine
after hours...
Using the dragonfly as a theme was also inspired from personal captivation with the insect,
having chased around and photo...
allowing the pilot to arch their bodies in order to turn, climb or dive. By using, a gearbox
with bearings on the lower se...
WORKS CITED
(n.d.).

Retrieved

September

23,

2011,

from

Museum

of

Science:

http://www.mos.org/leonardo/bio.html
(n...
REFERENCE LINKS FOR SCHEMATIC

1. Flight study.
http://jeb.biologists.org/content/207/26/4707.full.pdf+html and
http://jeb...
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Leonardo DaVinci - Sociology Of Design

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Artist…Scientist...Inventor…Mathematician…Engineer… these are a few professions that can describe Leonardo Da Vinci. A true polymath, Da Vinci was known to have an “unquenchable curiosity and a feverishly inventive imagination” (Kleiner, 1995)
While he was well renowned as a painter, creating famous works such as the Mona Lisa, Madonna on the Rocks, and the Last Supper, Leonardo was far more than just an artist; he was one of the finest scientific geniuses of his era. He believed that any good artist should also be a good scientist so as to have a better understanding of nature.
His technological ingenuity allowed him to conceptualize inventions such as a helicopter, a tank, calculators etc. Although DaVinci never published his work, he kept a detailed record of his findings in handwritten manuscript, of which roughly 4000 pages survived today.
In fact, one might suggest that Leonardo was more of an inventor than a painter, since most of his paintings were on commission, signifying that they might have been simply undertaken to provide financial support for his true passion: understanding nature.
Leonardo Da Vinci loved nature from a very early age. This was possibly because of his origins. His birthplace, the village of Vinci in Tuscany was located near mountains, trees and rivers, giving young Leonardo a perfect opportunity to explore his surroundings and interact with the wildlife. He was particularly fascinated with birds, stating one of his earliest memories to be watching a great hawk soaring across the skies. Da Vinci did not just wonder how birds flew, he undertook systematic studies birds in flight — then applied his studies to create an invention in the hopes that humans might fly as well.

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Leonardo DaVinci - Sociology Of Design

  1. 1. Module: Sociology of Design Assignment 3: Leonardo DaVinci M.Des 1.1 Name: Harshal Desai Lecturer: Arabella Date of Submission 9/24/2011 Word Count: 2109
  2. 2. TABLE OF CONTENTS About Leonardo Da Vinci ........................................................................................................... 2 Realism and Perspective ............................................................................................................ 4 ABOUT THE Schematic ............................................................................................................... 6 Works Cited ................................................................................................................................ 9 REFERENCE LINKS FOR SCHEMATIC ......................................................................................... 10
  3. 3. ABOUT LEONARDO DA VINCI Artist…Scientist...Inventor…Mathematician…Engineer… these are a few professions that can describe Leonardo Da Vinci. A true polymath, Da Vinci was known to have an “unquenchable curiosity and a feverishly inventive imagination” (Kleiner, 1995) While he was well renowned as a painter, creating famous works such as the Mona Lisa, Madonna on the Rocks, and the Last Supper, Leonardo was far more than just an artist; he was one of the finest scientific geniuses of his era. He believed that any good artist should also be a good scientist so as to have a better understanding of nature. His technological ingenuity allowed him to conceptualize inventions such as a helicopter, a tank, calculators etc. Although DaVinci never published his work, he kept a detailed record of his findings in handwritten manuscript, of which roughly 4000 pages survived today. In fact, one might suggest that Leonardo was more of an inventor than a painter, since most of his paintings were on commission, signifying that they might have been simply undertaken to provide financial support for his true passion: understanding nature. Leonardo Da Vinci loved nature from a very early age. This was possibly because of his origins. His birthplace, the village of Vinci in Tuscany was located near mountains, trees and rivers, giving young Leonardo a perfect opportunity to explore his surroundings and interact with the wildlife. He was particularly fascinated with birds, stating one of his earliest memories to be watching a great hawk soaring across the skies. Da Vinci did not just wonder how birds flew, he undertook systematic studies birds in flight — then applied his studies to create an invention in the hopes that humans might fly as well.
  4. 4. Figure 1: Wings of Leonardo (Source: http://ascriptor.blogspot.com/2010/09/wings-of-leonardo.html) He believed that man will one day conquer the skies and he wished to sprout wings and soar over the land. One of his very first sketches at understanding flight was studying the wings of birds and bats. His flyer construct was a simple glider, controlled by a cable connected to two handles. He quoted, “once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” (Brainyquote.com). Leonardo's interest with machines probably began during his youth. As an apprentice in the workshop of the artist Verrocchio, Leonardo observed and handled a variety of machines. By studying them, he gained a real-world understanding about their design and structure. He reached new heights of scientific discoveries in the next 17 years under the service of Duke Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. (Museum of Science) Leonardo developed a distinctive new approach towards machines. By understanding how each separate part functioned, he could alter and combine them in various ways to improve existing mechanisms or make discoveries no one had ever seen before.
  5. 5. REALISM AND PERSPECTIVE During the Renaissance era, several artists based their work on nature, studying its details in order to create realistic looking paintings. They would observe people and animals from a distance, focusing on their movements, facial expressions, and incorporate it in their paintings. Inventors would use a similar process of observation studying movements of people, wildlife and natural elements to engineer efficient solutions like aqueducts or military weapons. Realism had become a popular art style where each artist strived to make his or her paintings resemble real life as much as possible. Leonardo recognized that one way to paint scenes realistically was to observe with great care how animals, people, and landscapes really looked. He was also careful to notice the differences in how an object looked when it was close by and when it was farther away, and when it was seen in bright light and in dim light. He turned his attention to nature during long walks. Da Vinci wrote detailed notes on his observations and made sketches of the things that sparked his curiosity in his notebooks throughout his life. (Leonardo's Perspective). Even in his paintings, for example the Last Supper took Leonardo nearly three years to complete simply because he spent weeks searching and studying faces to portray the characters in the painting. According to Leonardo, “ The most praiseworthy form of art is the one that most resembles what it imitates.” (Davincifocus.com) Leonardo received an informal training in geometry and mathematics in his childhood years. He was skilled at creating the illusion of depth and distance on flat surfaces using a technique called linear perspective. During the Renaissance, many architects and artists explored how to draw threedimensional objects on flat surfaces. They developed a system of mathematical instructions known as linear perspective to help painters achieve their goal of realism. However, Leonardo’s technique had a much simpler and elegant solution towards perspective. According to Leonardo, “Perspective is nothing else than seeing a place or objects behind a plane of glass, quite transparent, on the surface of which objects behind the glass are to be drawn” (Davidson, 1985)
  6. 6. Leonardo practiced using the window or a sheet of clear glass as a device for drawing perspective accurately while he was an apprentice in Verrocchio’s studio. (Leonardo's Window) The technique first originated in Florence, Italy in the early 1400s. The artist Brunelleschi demonstrated its principles through his work, but it was the architect and writer, Leon Battista Alberti who wrote down the actual instructions of linear perspective for future artists to follow. Leonardo da Vinci possibly followed Alberti's system while serving as an apprentice to the artist Verrocchio in Florence. For example, in his painting ‘Adoration of the Magi’, Leonardo began with a framework, creating all the lines required for the perspective and then followed by sketching the subjects within the painting. We can observe the two core guidelines, the horizon line and vanishing points clearly in the image below. (Exploring Linear Perspective) Figure 2: Adoration of the Magi framework (Source: http://www.mos.org/sln/Leonardo/ExploringLinearPerspective.html) Leonardo also made frequent use of the golden ratio, an mathematical construct most famously explained through the Vitruvian Man. The golden ratio is widely used in art and architecture because it is a formula derived from nature, observed in a wide variety of flowers, trees, animals etc.
  7. 7. ABOUT THE SCHEMATIC Leonardo was particularly fascinated with flight. He invented a conceptual flying machine after hours of studying birds and bats in flight. Modern science tells us that among creatures in flight, the dragonfly is possibly one of the most advanced flying insects, and so, deriving on Da Vinci’s initial desire to create a flying machine based on the natural flight of birds, our schematic is based on imitating the natural flight of the dragonflies. Following Leonardo’s principles, we studied the movements of the dragonflies at the botanic gardens in Singapore, capturing images of them at several angles to understand their wing structures and perching dynamics. The notes taken were written down in a cursive font similar to the original Leonardo’s font to make the overall theme as authentic as possible. While Leonardo did usually prefer “mirror writing”, starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left side, there were instances when he wrote in the normal direction, particularly when the work was intended for someone else. Leonardo wrote in Italian using a special kind of shorthand that he invented himself. People who study his notebooks have long been puzzled by something else, however. He usually used "mirror writing", starting at the right side of the page and moving to the left. Only when he was writing something intended for other people did he write in the normal direction. While the exact reason for mirror writing was unknown, there were several possibilities suggested: 1. Leonardo was being cryptic to prevent people from stealing his ideas. 2. He was hiding his work from the powerful Roman Catholic Church, whose teachings often conflicted with what Leonardo’s observations. 3. Writing left handed from left to right was messy because the ink just put down would smear as his hand moved across it. Leonardo chose to write in reverse because it prevented smudging. Regardless, this schematic has its information written in normal direction since it was intended for other audiences. (Leonardo: Right to left)
  8. 8. Using the dragonfly as a theme was also inspired from personal captivation with the insect, having chased around and photographing it on numerous occasions. Dragonflies have been around since the age of the dinosaurs and continue to show incredible manoeuvrability, using their two pairs of wings to significantly increase acceleration and climb, with less energy expended. Some dragonflies can even achieve a maximum speed of 25-30mph, and their general speed is around 10mph (FAQ on Dragonflies) The schematic was divided into different parts according to the golden rectangle for visual appeal and to ideally separate the information into their own segments. Figure 3: Golden Rectangle Division (Source: Self) The notes taken are a mixture of facts, figures, and scientific information referenced from two academic journals, the sources of which as listed at the end of the assignment. While the schematic may appear to be a knock-off of the Vitruvian man, quite the contrary, it isn’t. It is a general mathematical calculation to calculate the ratio of wingspan vs the body of the dragonfly. One of the key factors behind the flight of a dragonfly is its proportions in terms of size and wingspan. By using a simple geometrical calculation, the schematic shows an analysis of the dragonfly’s wingspan and body proportion. The mechanical construct was duplicated using the same dimensional ratios. The end result was a conceptual mechanical harness with a 5.2m wingspan with two pairs of wings, with three divisions on each wing to compensate for the weight of an average human being. Manoeuvrability closely mimics the dragonfly by using a torso and hip joints,
  9. 9. allowing the pilot to arch their bodies in order to turn, climb or dive. By using, a gearbox with bearings on the lower set of wings would work as a cantilever allowing more lift at a lesser energy expended, similar in function to the scales of the dragonfly’s wings. Concerning color, the schematic sticks to a faded brown color often seen in the existing Leonardo’s notes. The schematic avoided using pastel colours to simulate the authenticity of the image, as the goal was to make it appear as if Leonardo created this schematic himself. There is also a canvas paper pattern overlaid to simulate the original notes and the design was printed out on canvas to even roll it up in a manner Leonardo maintained his notes. In clockwise order, the first larger section consists of a proportional comparison between a dragonfly and the conceptual flying machine. It also included small notes about the wing structures of both, the insect and the construct. Next was an individual sketch of the various segments of the machine. Below that were sketches of an observational study based on the behaviour and flight patterns of the dragonfly, understanding how the angle of movement and speed varies according to the inclination of the body. In conclusion, engineering a method to soar the skies paired with the mechanics of reality was the peak of imagination during Leonardo’s time. For Da Vinci it was the desire to see the world from a wider perspective, and letting his imagination soar. For me personally, this assignment originated from my own curiosity of flight, with the idea refined through the mindset of Da Vinci, allowing me to not just pay homage to the Renaissance Man, but also briefly live and see the world through his perspective.
  10. 10. WORKS CITED (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2011, from Museum of Science: http://www.mos.org/leonardo/bio.html (n.d.). Retrieved september 24, 2011, from Brainyquote.com: http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/authors/l/leonardo_da_vinci.html (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Davincifocus.com: http://davincifocus.com/davinci-quotes.html Davidson, N. (1985). Astronomy and the Imagination. London: Routledge and Kegan Paul Ltd. Exploring Linear Perspective. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Museum of Science: http://www.mos.org/sln/Leonardo/ExploringLinearPerspective.html FAQ on Dragonflies. (n.d.). Retrieved September 23, 2011, from BritishDragonflies.org.uk: http://www.british-dragonflies.org.uk/content/frequently-asked-questions Kleiner, F. (1995). Gardner's Art Through the Ages: A Global History . Boston: Wadsworth Publishing. Leonardo: Right to left. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Museum of Science: http://www.mos.org/sln/Leonardo/LeonardoRighttoLeft.html Leonardo's Perspective. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Museum of Science: http://www.mos.org/sln/Leonardo/LeonardosPerspective.html Leonardo's Window. (n.d.). Retrieved September 24, 2011, from Museum of Science: http://www.mos.org/sln/Leonardo/LeonardosWindow.html
  11. 11. REFERENCE LINKS FOR SCHEMATIC 1. Flight study. http://jeb.biologists.org/content/207/26/4707.full.pdf+html and http://jeb.biologists.org/content/203/20/3125.full.pdf 2. Corbet, Phillip S. (1999). Dragonflies: Behavior and Ecology of Odonata. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press. pp. 559–561. 3. About the Dragonfly http://www.branta.connectfree.co.uk/dragonfly.htm 4. “How Dragonflies use their four wings”, Telegraph http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/science-news/3342126/How-dragonflies-usetheir-four-wings.html

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