A Profile of Leonardo Da Vinci.
Everyone and their dog has heard the name and seen some reproduction of the work of Leonardo Da Vinci. Most would say they know who he was. But do we really? My son Steffen had a homework assignment requiring him to describe what sights and sounds he might have seen and heard, were he in Da Vinci's home. So in an attempt to help him with his project, I dug out and dusted off an old book I had on my studio shelf entitled the "New standard encyclopedia of art" published in 1939. I found myself curiously engrossed in the material. The old adage " Jack of all trades, master of none", most certainly does NOT apply to this man. For he was the MASTER of all. Italian painter; known for works such as the 'Mona Lisa', and the 'Last Supper'; sculptor, architect; designing flying machines, bridges, cannons and other offensive machines; he was a musician and composer, who could sing extremely well, play instruments and even made a lute in the shape of a horses head, which he played. As if being incredibly artistically talented wasn't enough, he was an intellect, studying all branches of science, mathematics, geology, and anatomy. Thus Making Leonardo Da Vinci the ULTIMATE master. As an artist myself creating in many mediums such as paint and interior design, I of course aspire to be more Da Vinci like. So, to do so, I decided I must be the pupil and further study the master.
How is it then, that Leonardo Da Vinci was an expert at everything he put his hand to? In my experience, It is uncommon to find creative type people who are also intellectual scholars. Something to do with right brain and left brain thinking. This is a little tidbit I found online to describe the right brain vs left brain phenomenon:
"The Right Brain / Left Brain Theory has it that our brain has two hemispheres (commonly called the right brain and left brain) which think in different ways. Our right brain is visual and processes information by looking first at the whole picture then the details. Our left brain is verbal and processes information by looking first at the pieces then putting them together to get the whole. Our right brain is more intuitive; our left is analytical and sequential. Here is a little quiz to determine how you think
Right brain left brain QUIZ for artists."
Most artists are Right brain thinkers, as I am no exception, I am not a critical thinker preferring to exist in the abstract world, as it is more enjoyable and comes more easily to me. My career required mathematics and reading, research, reporting and communication skills. Learning these skills were by discipline; Tempted to leave it at that, yet knowing Leonardo would not approve of this lame explanation, I reluctantly continue to investigate how Leonardo Da Vinci was able to be a critical thinker and a creative mind leads me to this online article which makes perfect sense.
"MindFire Press Article
Critical Thinking by Robert E. Levasseur, Ph.D. Doctoral Series MindFire Press (www.mindfirepress.com)
-... To explore the nature of critical thinking, we begin by examining the concept of left and right brain thinking. Left and Right Brain Thinking Brain research suggests that the left and right sides of the brain have distinct and complementary functions. Simply put, the left brain is the seat of logic and, hence, analytical thinking, and the right brain is the seat of intuition and, hence, system thinking. So, is critical thinking left-brained, analytical thinking, or is it right-brained, system thinking? Perhaps by examining the thinking of a few great scholars we can answer this important question.
Everyone knows that Einstein was one of the great minds of all time. Clearly, Einstein’s theory of relativity qualifies him as a left-brained, analytical person. Leonardo Da Vinci, as the painter of the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, clearly qualifies as one of the great creative thinkers of all time, a truly right-brained, artistic, systemic person. But, wait a minute you say. Wasn’t Einstein also a concert-level violinist and Da Vinci also a brilliant inventor and the chief engineer of the Duke of Milan? Apparently, the great thinkers were really both left and right brained; that is, whole-brained. When confronted with a complex problem, they first used their right brain to get the big picture, systemic view of it; then they used their left brain to break it into manageable subproblems which they analyzed for insight into the solution of the original problem. And so on and so forth. As we have seen, the alternating use of the left and right sides of the brain, called whole-brain thinking, is the hallmark of great thinkers...-
As I imagine being in the presence of Leonardo Da Vinci, I cant help but wonder if he would have been friendly and approachable. Or would he have been proud and conceited. I wonder if I'd have understood his conversation. I find myself wishing I could have apprenticed under his tutelage. While this incredible man has been gone from this world since 1519 still he teaches us today. He drew constantly, sketching the moments of daily life; giving each moment value. He filled vast quantities of notebooks with sketches, notes and calculations. Practise makes perfect they say. More importantly, my take away from this study are his words. "Painting is a thing of the spirit" said the Master. I couldn't agree more. Only I'd say, "CREATING is a thing of the spirit". If nothing else, I am Da Vinci like in this respect. Every painting I paint, photograph I take, word I write, and room I design is a piece of my spirit.