Leonardo da Vinci


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Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519) as a 14-year-old boy apprenticed to the painter and sculptor Verrocchio, and like other artists, he learned not only the basics of his craft, but also the mathematics necessary to depict perspective, and anatomy, which became absolutely mandatory for artists. Apparently, already in his youth, Leonardo came to the idea that he developed throughout his life and which he never changed: about the inextricable link between art and science. For him, art had enormous cognitive significance; above all other arts, he put painting, capable of "depicting everything visible to the eye."

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According to Leonardo, the "science of painting" is fundamental to all sciences - from astronomy to botany. The anatomical studies of artists, which previously extended only to what they needed for the correct image of the human body, that is, to what is visible under the cover of the skin - bones and muscles, Leonardo extended to the entire body, to the structure of the most deeply located organs. The problems of chiaroscuro led him to study optics, and the problems of motion led him to mechanics. The landscape, which before Leonardo occupied a modest place as a background in a figurative composition, was deeply developed by Leonardo, and the study of greenery led him to botany, the study of mountainous relief to geology, etc. Leonardo ridiculed the book method of studying nature and with undisguised irony called himself "an uneducated man." Anticipating further paths in the development of science, he considered the direct observation of nature to be the only source of all knowledge and the only scientific result of research - the mathematical processing of experimental data.

Just like the artist and the scientist, the scientist and the inventor merged into Leonardo. He invented different machines: a twisting machine for several spindles, a rolling mill, a drawing machine, machines for cutting screws, for grinding optical glasses, for notching files, chamber locks, water-lifting machines of various designs, etc. Leonardo studied the flight of birds and designed an aircraft heavier air, but came to the conclusion that such an apparatus could not fly without an engine. Many of Leonardo's inventions were intended to facilitate human labor, to protect people from destructive natural disasters, from destructive epidemics. However, among the inventions of Leonardo were improved weapons of war.

Not a single one of Leonardo's sculptural works has survived. His bold architectural designs were not realized. The glory of Leonardo as an artist is based mainly on his few surviving paintings. Leonardo deepened the psychological content of the picture, conveying the spiritual world of the figures depicted by him with the help of expressive movements. He developed harmonic composition. He gave his images of human figures and nature a previously unseen relief based on the laws of optics he had studied. He was the first to convey the depth of space not only through linear perspective, but also through the image of the air itself, as if enveloping objects with haze (“sfumato”, from the Italian fumo - smoke). The artistic and scientific activity of Leonardo made him the founder of a new stage in the development of Italian art, which is usually called the High Renaissance.


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