Friday, August 6, 2010

Leonardo Da Vinci

This dude was made famous by Monalisa, the world's most famous drawing...

And the Da Vinci Code.

Ah... last year (2009) July there was a Da Vinci The Genius Exhibition in Pusat Sains Negara. (They are not supposed to use "Da Vinci" at all... Da Vinci means "From Vinci" referring to his kampung la... His full name was "Lionardo di ser Piero da Vinci" meaning "Leonardo, (son) of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci".

I went there and there were only a handful of people... There was hardly anyone at all... the room, the equipment and all the inventions were there, the exhibition went on without receiving much attention from the public.

Let's not give excuses like "I was busy on weekdays", "I got no time". Well the darn exhibition went on for 3 months, and extended for another month and yet our proud Malaysian public were so ignorant. What a shame for a country aiming to become a developed country by 2020.

Anyway, this guy is a genius, well known and widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.

This portrait is widely considered to be the image of Leonardo, although he himself did not leave any definitive image of himself, which is quite usually for a painter.

Born the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio.

He left the studio when he was 26 years old and started his journey as an amazing jerk~~

He conceptualized a helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, and so on. His mind was ahead of his time..

Leonardo's tank

Leonardo's helicopter

Leonardo's calculator

As a scientist, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics. Leonardo was also the first to explain why the sky is blue(It's because of the way air scatters light).

He was one of the adversaries of the Catholic Church. His studies of river erosion convinced him that the Earth is much older than the Bible suggests. He argued that falling sea levels, not Noah's Flood, left marine fossils on mountains. This study alone is already a feat equaled only by our modern method of carbon dating....

The Vitruvian Man.
The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry, for example a palm is the width of four fingers, a foot is the width of four palms (i.e., 12 inches),a cubit is the width of six palms and etc..

Alright, enough of his ingenuity, let's write something that you do not usually find in wiki or books. (They are all biased towards praising him =P)

Leonardo was a chronic procrastinator; Out of so many drawings he was commissioned to complete, only 15 survived(or made complete). He had no close relationships with female, and his private life was kept secret. He was charged by his male model for sodomy; in which he narrowly escaped o.O gayish genius is not my cup of tea.

An ambidextrous, paranoid dyslexic, he could draw forward with one hand while writing backward with the other, producing a mirror-image script that others found difficult to read, i.e. he wrote things backward, and you have to read it in front of a mirror in order to understand o.O

Only when he was writing something intended for other people did he write in the normal direction. No one know exactly why did he write the way he did, but one suggestion was that he was trying to make it harder for people to read his notes and steal his ideas.

For all his brilliance, sometimes he could be such a dick: He was a big fan of puns and word games, and Folio 44 of his Codex Arundel contains a long list of playful synonyms for penis =.= such unlawful thoughts...

Leonardo was a wildly unsystematic thinker, and his limited education meant that even simple mathematical operations such as division were beyond him... o.O question like 17 ÷ 8 and he'd have gone mad~

A lack of mathematical knowledge also prevented him especially in his extensive endeavors to design a flying machine. No one know whether Leonardo ever attempted to build a full-scale glider, or did he ever he lobbied any renaissance daredevils to try it out. However, modern reproductions suggest that if he did, then his pilot would not have survived the first flight, though Discovery Channel did try it out and announced it to be a success, another ironic contradiction?

Leonardo's glider - duplicated by Discovery

In some ways, nevertheless, this makes his achievements all the greater: after all, few of today's hydraulic engineers could build a working lock, as Leonardo did, without being able to calculate the flow of water through it.

For some things, it seems, simply being a genius is not enough...





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