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Did You Know These facts about Leonardo da Vinci?
10 intriguing facts and trivia about the great artist, Leonardo da Vinci.

By Marion Boddy-Evans, Source:

I had great fun working my way through the book Da Vinci for Dummies (Buy Direct) and thought I'd share some of the intriguing things I'd learned about him. The kind of things that come up in trivia quizzes or to drop into conservations at a dinner table.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 1: Not a Prolific Painter
Leonardo left fewer than 30 paintings, and these aren’t even all finished. But before you think you can do the same and still go down in art history, remember he also left hundreds of drawings, sketches, and pages of notes. His reputation isn’t just based on his paintings.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 2: His Own Worst Enemy
Leonardo was both a perfectionist and a procrastinator. How’s that for a terrible combination of personality traits? It’s said to be one of the reasons why he left so few paintings.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 3: Where’s the Sculpture?
There are no pieces of sculpture that can definitely be attributed to Leonardo, even though art historians know he learned sculpture when an art apprentice in Verrocchio’s studio. (So remember to sign your work!)

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 4: If He Hadn’t Been Illegitimate, He May Not Have Been an Artist
Leonardo was born out of wedlock on 15 April 1452. But if he hadn’t been, he might not have been apprenticed to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio, as he would have more occupations open to him. As it was, being illegitimate, his options were limited. The only thing known for sure about his mother is that her name was Caterina; art historians believe she probably worked in the household of Leonardo’s father, Ser Piero da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 5: Expensive Paper Makes for Messy Notebooks
Paper was far more expensive and harder to get hold of in Leonardo’s day than it is today. Which is why he made more intensive use of it, “filling” most of every page.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 6: A Vegetarian
Unusually for the era in which he lived, Leonardo was a vegetarian, for humanitarian reasons. (Not that this stopped him from dissecting humans to study anatomy and to map out where the human soul was, nor from taking a job as a designer of military weapons at one stage.)

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 7: One of the First Italians to Use Oil Paint
Leonardo was one of the first artists in Italy to use oil paints instead of egg tempera, enjoying the freedom it gave him to rework a painting. He even concocted his own recipe for oil paints.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 8: Lover of Experimenting
Leonardo’s great fresco, The Last Supper began to deteriorate almost immediately. This is because Leonardo didn’t follow traditional, tried-and-tested fresco techniques of water-based paints applied to wet plaster, but used oil-based paint on a surface that was a mixture of gesso, pitch, and mastic.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 9: What He Didn’t Invent
Leonardo invented, or drew up plans and sketches for a great number of things. But the telescope wasn’t one of them. Nor gears, ratchets, pulley systems, or screws; these already existed.

Leonardo da Vinci Fact No 10: Don't Call Him Da Vinci
Despite the title of Dan Brown’s best-selling who-done-it, The Da Vinci Code, if you must shorten his name, call him Leonardo. Da Vinci just means “from the town of Vinci”.

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Replies to This Discussion

Very interesting! - I did not know

Leonardo Da Vinci always had a mysterious personality. Lot of things he did and wrote are not fully understood still. He was expert at hiding signals and symbols in his work to convey specials messages - and what exactly these messages were, is still under speculations.

He was a painter and physicist and almost everything. Some of his inventions were way ahead of his times and are still studied to derive clues for new and robust designs. Most of the modern warfare techniques are his gift to future - including helicopter and tanks
Leonardo used to write in a backwards way (mirror image -as mentioned in one of the comments) to keep his work in a little crypted form. This, when added to his difficult-to-read handwriting, made it a tough task to understand outcomes of his research.
if it were not for him, going in space wouldn't have been possible
He made the first walking robot (a walking lion robot)
He took refuge in Vatican city and conducted some illegal autopsies (total 30 in his life) to understand anatomy. He never published his works though.
Two years of his life are totally undocumented - no clues as to where he was and did what he did.

EDIT: Leonardo was illegitimate son of a Florentine notary, Ser Piero d'Antonio. Raised by his father, da Vinci received the standard education of the time - but most of it at home. He never had any formal education.

More here: Page on Discovermagazine
.Leonardo Da Vinci was the first to explain why the sky is blue.
.Leo Da Vinci could write with one hand and draw with the other at the same time.
.Contact lenses were first proposed by Leonardo Da Vinci in 1508.
.Leonardo Di Caprio's name is Leonardo because his mother was standing in front of a Leonardo Da Vinci's portrait when he first kicked.
.A face-recognition software determined that Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, and 2% angry.

.Leonardo Da Vinci was home schooled and lacked a formal education in Greek and Latin.
.Famous left-handed people include Napoleon, Da Vinci, Michelangelo, Einstein,Newton, Bill Gates, Oprah, Obama and Jimi Hendrix.
.Leo Da Vinci used to buy caged animals at the market just to set them free.
.Leonardo Da Vinci's last words were: "I have offended God and mankind. My work did not reach the quality it should have.
.Leonardo Da Vinci was almost put to death for sodomy. When no witnesses came forward, his case was dismissed.
.Leonardo Da Vinci's Mona Lisa became the world's most famous painting after it was stolen from the Louvre in 1911.
Leonardo Davinci wrote most of his personal notes in mirror, only using standard writing if he intended his texts to be read by others :

Leonardo Davinci wrote most of his personal notes in mirror, only using standard writing if he intended his texts to be read by others :

He was naturally ambidextrous..could use both his hand simultaneously..write in one hand and draw with another.
Apparently Leonardo's mother was a slave.

1. Leonardo was the love child of Caterina, a peasant, and Ser Piero, a lawyer and landlord. He was homeschooled and lacked a formal education in Greek and Latin.

2. He was an accomplished lyre player. When he was first presented at the Milanese court, it was as a musician, not an artist or inventor.

3. Leonardo narrowly beat a sodomy rap—possibly involving one of his male models—brought against him by Florentine officials.

4. Mona Lisa theory #1: Her smile means she was secretly pregnant.

5. Theory #2: She was amused by the musicians and clowns who entertained her while Leonardo painted her. (Another theory says the Mona Lisa is a portrait of Leonardo himself, slyly disguised. But you'd heard that one before, hadn't you?)

6. Columbia University art historian James Beck retorts, "As sure as the moon is not made of green cheese, this is not da Vinci in drag."

7. Then again, unusual for a painter, Leonardo left no definitive image of himself.

8. Of course, that was before she saw the picture: Researchers at the University of Amsterdam and the University of Illinois used face-recognition software to determine that the Mona Lisa is 83% happy, 9% disgusted, 6% fearful, and 2% angry.

9. Bill Gates bought the Codex Leicester in 1995 for $30 million. This manuscript, the only one not held in Europe, includes da Vinci's studies on hydraulics and the movement of water.

10. And Leonardo loved water: He developed plans for floating snowshoes, a breathing device for underwater exploration, a life preserver, and a diving bell that could attack ships from below. In case one had to.

11. Leonardo was the first to explain why the sky is blue. (It's because of the way air scatters light.)

12. And he figured out why the entire moon is dimly visible when it is a thin crescent. Its nightside is lit by light reflected from Earth, which appears 50 times brighter from the moon than the full moon appears here.

13. An ambidextrous, paranoid dyslexic, Leonardo could draw forward with one hand while writing backward with the other, producing a mirror-image script that others found difficult to read—which was exactly the point.

14. The Louvre recently spent $5.5 million rehanging the Mona Lisa inside a display case set into a wall, six feet behind a wooden barrier.

15. In August 2003, da Vinci's Madonna of the Yarnwinder, valued at $65 million, was stolen from Drumlanrig Castle in Scotland by two men posing as tourists. They escaped in a Volkswagen Golf.

16. Leonardo designed an armored car, a scythed chariot, a pile driver, a revolving crane, a pulley, a lagoon dredge, and a flying ship.

17. In December 2000, skydiver Adrian Nicholas landed in South Africa using a parachute built from one of Leonardo's designs.

18. I wonder what happens if . . . After dissecting cadavers, Leonardo replaced the muscles with strings to see how they worked.

19. Sometimes he could be such a dick: He was a big fan of puns and word games, and Folio 44 of his Codex Arundel contains a long list of playful synonyms for penis.

20. He crushed intelligent design before anyone even thought of it: His studies of river erosion convinced him that the Earth is much older than the Bible implies, and he argued that falling sea levels—not Noah's Flood—left marine fossils on mountains.




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