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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.