Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, known as Leonardo da Vinci, was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance whose areas of interest included invention, drawing, painting, sculpture, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, paleontology, and cartography.
Leonardo is renowned primarily as a painter. The Mona Lisa is the most famous of his works and the most popular portrait ever made. The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time and his Vitruvian Man drawing is regarded as a cultural icon as well. Salvator Mundi was sold for a world record $450.3 million at a Christie’s auction in New York, 15 November 2017, the highest price ever paid for a work of art. Leonardo’s paintings and preparatory drawings—together with his notebooks, which contain sketches, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting—compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary Michelangelo.
Here are a few facts about Leonardo Da Vinci-
- 1. Da Vinci was the first to explain why the sky is blue, having realised how the air scatters light about.
- 2. He is widely credited with coming up with the idea of contact lenses, which he did so in his 1508 publication Codex of the eye, Manual D.
- 3. He was a vegetarian and believed animals should be free; as such, he would often purchase caged birds just so he could then set them free. He learned this from Hinduism.
- 4. He created designs for many things that would took centuries to be realised, including helicopters, solar power technology, tanks and calculators, to name just a few.
- 5. He was fascinated with form and this fascination can be seen in one of his most famous pieces, The Vitruvian Man, which sets out the proportions of the human body.
- 6. One of the many things da Vinci studied was river erosion; from this he came to realise that the Earth was in fact older than what was claimed in the Bible.
- 7. He disproved another Biblical story by claiming that it wasn’t Noah’s ark that was responsible for fossils being found on mountainsides, but actually falling sea levels.
- 8. Though undoubtedly one of the greatest creatives ever to have lived, da Vinci didn’t have a particularly high opinion of his many contributions to human knowledge.
- 9. Even though da Vinci is exceptionally famous for his paintings, just over a dozen are currently thought to still be in existence.
- 10. A number of da Vinci’s designs have actually been built; some were found to work, while others were found to be impractical.
- 11. Making extensive notes was something that da Vinci had the habit of doing. Throughout his lifetime he made thousands upon thousands of pages of notes, including over 200 on corpses he gained permission to dissect.
- 12. Undoubtedly his most famous painting is the Mona Lisa. Arguably the most famous painting in the world, no one to this day knows exactly who the subject of the painting is. There have been plenty of theories put forward, of course, but none have been proven yet.
- 13. At one point da Vinci was nearly sentenced to death for sodomy. No witnesses came forward to speak against him, so the case was dismissed and da Vinci was permitted to live.
- 14. The Mona Lisa has been on permanent display at the Louvre in Paris since 1797 and is seen by over 6 million people a year.