It is only fitting the NAS dedicates a post to Leonardo daVinci, a timeless inspiration and genius.
Today, society focuses on the importance of specialization. DaVinci was a specialist alright–a specialist painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer ;)
Although he is better known for his paintings (although he had only released a handful of them, and procrastinated many of them), he was a master draftsman, he kept journals with nearly 13,000 pages filled with ideas, inventions, art, and various studies.
Da Vinci was a great observer. The credit for his anatomical studies should be given to Andrea di Cione, aka Verrocchio, whom he apprenticed with since the age of 14, and taught him the importance of anatomy training in art.
Feline (and dragon) study. Notice the cat proportions are different than the cats of today.
The Vitruvian Man was created circa 1487. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of the famed architect, Vitruvius. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or Proportions of Man.
The man himself. So much speculation exists about his art, inventions, mirrored writing, even his sexuality, that as a true fan of his…I’ll let him carry all those secrets with him without my own judgements. “It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgement.” (A Study in Scarlet, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle)
I’ll end this post with Leonardo’s earliest known drawing, the Arno Valley (1473), Uffizi. I love this because of its mistakes; He drew this when he was 21, there is an imbalance of vanishing points and his waterfall study (mid-right) proved fruitless. It’s nice to see that even a brilliant artist has to start somewhere. (Keep in mind since the time of this drawing he had already been in his apprenticeship for 7 years).