Leonardo da Vinci (Artist, Writer, & Inventor) –
The 15th Century Italian artist and inventor known by all throughout the world.
Leonardo’s journals – “Begun at Florence, in the house of Piero di Braccio Martelli, on the 22nd day of March 1508. And this is to be a collection without order, taken from many papers which I have copied here, hoping to arrange them later each in its place, according to the subjects of which they may treat. But I believe that before I am at the end of this I shall have to repeat the same things several times; for which, O reader! do not blame me, for the subjects are many and memory cannot retain them all and say: ‘I will not write this because I wrote it before.’ And if I wished to avoid falling into this fault, it would be necessary in every case when I wanted to copy that, not to repeat myself, I should read over all that had gone before; and all the more since the intervals are long between one time of writing and the next.”
“The lights which may illuminate opaque bodies are of 4 kinds. These are: diffused light as that of the atmosphere.. And direct, as that of the sun.. The third is Reflected light; and there is a 4th which is that which passes through bodies, as linen or paper or the like.”
“to obtain a true and perfect knowledge of the vascular system… I have dissected more than ten human bodies, destroying all the other members, and removing the very minutest particles of the flesh by which these veins are surrounded, … and as one single body would not last so long, since it was necessary to proceed with several bodies by degrees, until I came to an end and had a complete knowledge; this I repeated twice, to learn the differences.”
“And a little beyond the sandstone conglomerate, a tufa has been formed, where it turned towards Castel Florentino; farther on, the mud was deposited in which the shells lived, and which rose in layers according to the levels at which the turbid Arno flowed into that sea. And from time to time the bottom of the sea was raised, depositing these shells in layers, as may be seen in the cutting at Colle Gonzoli, laid open by the Arno which is wearing away the base of it; in which cutting the said layers of shells are very plainly to be seen in clay of a bluish color, and various marine objects are found there.”
“The earth is not in the center of the Sun’s orbit nor at the center of the universe, but in the center of its companion elements, and united with them. And any one standing on the moon, when it and the sun are both beneath us, would see this our earth and the element of water upon it just as we see the moon, and the earth would light it as it lights us.”
“Old alchemists… have never either by chance or by experiment succeeded in creating the smallest element that can be created by nature; however deserve unmeasured praise for the usefulness of things invented for the use of men, and would deserve it even more if they had not been the inventors of noxious things like poisons and other similar things which destroy life or mind.”
“The art of perspective is of such a nature as to make what is flat appear in relief and what is in relief flat.” ” Those who are in love with practice without knowledge are like the sailor who gets into a ship without rudder or compass and who never can be certain whether he is going. Practice must always be founded on sound theory, and to this Perspective is the guide and the gateway; and without this nothing can be done well in the matter of drawing.”
“All the problems of perspective are made clear by the five terms of mathematicians, which are:—the point, the line, the angle, the superficies and the solid. The point is unique of its kind. And the point has neither height, breadth, length, nor depth, whence it is to be regarded as indivisible and as having no dimensions in space.”
“He made designs for mills, fulling machines and engines that could be driven by water-power… In addition he used to make models and plans showing how to excavate and tunnel through mountains without difficulty, so as to pass from one level to another; and he demonstrated how to lift and draw great weights by means of levers, hoists and winches, and ways of cleansing harbours and using pumps to suck up water from great depths.”
“How by means of a certain machine many people may stay some time under water. How and why I do not describe my method of remaining under water, or how long I can stay without eating; and I do not publish nor divulge these by reason of the evil nature of men who would use them as means of destruction at the bottom of the sea, by sending ships to the bottom, and sinking them together with the men in them. And although I will impart others, there is no danger in them; because the mouth of the tube, by which you breathe, is above the water supported on bags of corks.”
“Very light and strong bridges that can easily be carried, with which to pursue, and sometimes flee from, the enemy; and others safe and indestructible by fire or assault, easy and convenient to transport and place into position.”
“When a place is besieged I know how to cut off water from the trenches and construct an infinite variety of bridges, mantles and scaling ladders, and other instruments pertaining to sieges. I also have types of mortars that are very convenient and easy to transport…. when a place cannot be reduced by the method of bombardment either because of its height or its location, I have methods for destroying any fortress or other stronghold, even if it be founded upon rock. ….If the engagement be at sea, I have many engines of a kind most efficient for offense and defense, and ships that can resist cannons and powder.”
“An object offers as much resistance to the air as the air does to the object. You may see that the beating of its wings against the air supports a heavy eagle in the highest and rarest atmosphere, close to the sphere of elemental fire. Again you may see the air in motion over the sea, fill the swelling sails and drive heavily laden ships. From these instances, and the reasons given, a man with wings large enough and duly connected might learn to overcome the resistance of the air, and by conquering it, succeed in subjugating it and rising above it.”
Article by James Day
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