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“I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. ‘Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”
~Leonardo Da Vinci

Who was  Leonardo Da Vinci?
Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the small town of Vinci, in Tuscany (Toscana), near Florence (Italy). He was  Italian.
He was an illegitimate progeny of Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a Florentine notary, and Caterina, a peasant.

Leonardo was raised by his single father. He never married or had children.

Leonardo would wear pink to make his complexion look fresh.
Leonardo had, by the standards of  those days,  a reputation of being a man of high character.
As a dinner guest, would monopolize all conversation, enjoy the soup, linger long enough that all would beg him to stay and leave to a loud chorus of “Come back soon!”, whilst misappropriating a wine glass and forgetting his hat.

Leonardo is considered by many as the Father of Modern Science. Sternly, he believed  only in that which he could observe. He began his career as an apprentice to Florentine artist Andrea del Verrochio.

Leonardo was an architect, a musician, an engineer, a scientist and an inventor.
He was also a  a great painter, a sculptor, a designer of costumes, a scientist, a mathematician, a botanist, a futurist and a thinker.

Leonardo, the dyslexic:
He had the gift of dyslexia.
Most of the time, he wrote his notes backwards, ‘ in mirror writing’ i.e. they can be easily readas normal , as a reflection in the mirror. (Some ‘suspected’  that this was to keep his ideas secret).
Leonardo’s spellings  are also  erratic and strange.

His handwriting

Why did he write from right-to-left, in mirror image?
Although rare, this is a trait shared by many left-handed dyslexics.
Most of the time, dyslexic writers are not  consciously aware that they are writing this way.

Was he an ADD?
He  started many more projects then he ever finished – a characteristic which is now often considered to be a symptom of  ‘A.D.D.’( Attention Deficit Disorder).

Da Vinci’s love for ‘flight’ and locomotion :
Leonardo was intrigued with the concept of human flight, and spent many years toying with various ideas for flying machines. He produced many studies of the flight of birds and plans for several flying machines When he drew his flying machine, he wrote (backwards, of course):

“A small model can be made of paper with a spring like metal shaft that after having been released, after having been twisted, causes the screw to spin up into the air.”

His drawings of the aeroplane.

Leonardo sketched not only the first aeroplane but also the first parachute, first helicopter, first tank, first repeating rifle, swinging bridge, paddleboat and the first motorcar. . .
He invented the bicycle 300 years before it appeared on the road.

Leonardo the painter:
He had a passion to paint  beautiful women, most of whom  enjoyed being painted secretly.
Leonardo’s first solo painting, completed in 1478, was ‘Madonna and Child’.
In 1481 he left Florence for Milan to offer his service to the local Duke.
In 1481 he began painting ‘Adoration of the Magi’, an unfinished work that reveals his technique of beginning with a dark painting surface and adding elements of light, unlike most painters of his time who started with outlined figures on a white surface.
In 1483 he started to paint the first version of the ‘Virgin’. He completed it in 1485.
Leonardo was famous for the way he used light in his portraits. He drew a self-portrait in 1515.

Mona Lisa:
‘The Mona Lisa’ is perhaps his most famous work. The subject of this portrait is still debated to this day, the most popular current view being that it is of Lisa Gherardini del Giocondo.
Another  of the most unusual hypotheses is that it is a self-portrait of Leonardo as a woman.
It took him about ten years to paint Mona Lisa’s lips.

The Last Supper:
He painted ‘The Last Supper’ at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, a dramatic depiction of the moment Jesus announced that he would be betrayed.
By 1500 AD,  the painting’s deterioration had begun. Since 1726, many attempts have been made to restore it.

The Last Supper

Leonardo the sculptor:
In 1495 Leonardo made a clay model for the statue of Francesco Forza, and put it on display.
Leonardo changed the way people painted and made sculptures.
He was one of the most acclaimed artists of the Renaissance (a period when the arts and sciences flourished). .

Da Vinci, the science illustrator:
Leonardo was constantly sketching out his ideas for inventions.
When it came to drawing illustrations, Leonardo’s work is detailed and precise.
He established modern techniques of scientific illustration with highly accurate renderings such as ‘Embryo in the Womb’.
He made maps of Europe.
He took part as an engineer in the war against Pisa.
He designed a movable bridge for the Duke of Milan.
He drew the plans of the first armored car in 1485.
His drawing of a baby in the womb.

He was undeniably one of the greatest thinkers and well ahead of his time by hundreds of years.
Leonardo died on May 2, 1519 and was buried in San Florentine in Ambrose.

Acknowledgements: Source -Prabhakar Pillai.