Leonardo da Vinci
[ Issue 30 ]

Emily Bronto is definitely one of Leonardo da Vinci’s many fans

Bikwil celebrates Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

His reputation remains undimmed.  Whose?  Why, Leonardo da VinciTony Rogers tells us all about him.

Although he was an inveterate procrastinator, he managed to get enough things done to be remembered — among numerous other roles — as an anatomist, an architect, an astronomer, a botanist, a geologist, a musician, a painter, a philosopher and a sculptor.

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Arts and Sciences — Tony Rogers

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This man was Italian, the illegitimate son of Piero and Caterina. He had a stepbrother, Bartolommeo who was his junior by 45 years. He lived to the age of 67, and died in the arms of a French king. He was generous to his friends, he wrote riddles, he was a practical joker. He was tall and handsome, he was muscular and athletic, he was a homosexual.

Leaving aside his personal background and traits, however, I must perforce ask another question: did he achieve anything worth mentioning in these pages?

Did he ever. Although he was an inveterate procrastinator, he managed to get enough things done to be remembered — among numerous other roles — as an anatomist, an architect, an astronomer, a botanist, a geologist, a musician, a painter, a philosopher and a sculptor.

Giorgio Vasari (1511-74) wrote of him, “He might have been a scientist if he had not been so versatile.”

“Versatile” was right. He was also a prolific inventor, whose devices (about 1000) include such wide-ranging creations as the alarm clock, the bicycle chain, the deep-sea diving suit, the flame-thrower, the helicopter, the parachute, the tank and the variable-speed drive.

One of his musical inventions was his “lyra”, which he designed to accompany him when he sang. This was a sort of lute, which he fashioned in silver in the form of a horse’s skull, where the teeth served as the frets.

A certain portrait he painted (on wood) was of a Florentine woman, but her husband, who had commissioned it, did not think much of it and refused to pay. Today it is could well be the most valuable painting in the world.

I dare say you won’t be surprised when I tell you that this Lion of a man was born in a little Tuscan town called Vinci, which lies between Pisa and Florence.

Why not spare a few minutes next month (April), to reflect upon the legacy of the definitive Renaissance Man? It will be his birthday on the fifteenth.

His 450th.

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