Declaration of Independence

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. - That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.

Monday, November 27, 2017

Leonardo da Vinci

            Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (more commonly known as Leonardo da Vinci or Leonardo) was born April 15, 1452, in Tuscan town of Vinci, in the region of Florence, Italy. He was the illegitimate son of Piero da Vinci, an attorney or notary, and a peasant woman named Caterina. He lived with his mother in the hamlet of Anchiano for his first five years and then went to live with his father, grandparents, and uncle in Vinci. His father married four times and sired twelve other children, six with his third wife and six with his fourth wife. Leonardo’s half-siblings caused problems with the inheritance upon their father’s death.

            Leonardo was taught in the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio, a well-known Florentine painter. His first jobs were for Ludovico il Moro in Milan, and he later worked in Rome, Bologna, and Venice. He lived in France for his last years.

            While da Vinci is mainly known for being a painter, he had many “areas of interest, which included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography.” He has been “called the father of palaeontology, ichnology, and architecture and is widely considered one of the greatest painters of all time.” There are also suggestions that he invented the parachute, helicopter, and tank. He is considered to be “the Renaissance humanist ideal.”

            Leonardo’s most famous painting is the Mona Lisa. His painting of The Last Supper “is the most reproduced religious painting of all time. His Vitruvian Man is considered to be a “cultural icon,” and his Salvator Mundi recently sold for $450.3 million at an auction in New York, “the highest price ever paid for a work of art.” Even though few – maybe 15 – of his paintings survived, he left a “contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.” He also left notebooks containing “drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting.”

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualized flying machines, a type of armoured fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or even feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance. Some of his smaller inventions, however, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. A number of Leonardo’s most practical inventions are nowadays displayed as working models at the Museum of Vinci. He made substantial discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, geology, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.

            Leonardo died on May 2, 1519, in Clos Luce, Amboise, France. He was buried at the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, Amboise, France.

            “When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return” (da Vinci).

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