Seeing the world with both sides of the brain
“I will do things no one in the past has dared to do... I will think new thoughts, and bring new things into being...” ”
- Leonardo da Vinci
As so many great leaders do, the most famous artist and thinker in history started from very humble beginnings. He was born the illegitimate son of a wealthy notary and a servant in 1452, just outside the village of Vinci, Italy. As a bastard, he was barred from getting a formal education in Greek or Latin, the languages that all books of the time were written in. But as he grew up, young Leonardo never saw this as a handicap; he didn’t trust others’ accepted “wisdom” about the world in any case. He felt strongly that only through personal, detailed observation and analysis could one discover the truth. And he wanted to know the truth…about everything. As a teenager, he was sent to Florence to learn a trade, apprenticing as a painter under a popular local artist. Florence was at that time one of the largest cities in Europe, and the site of a tremendous blossoming of knowledge now known as the Renaissance. It was a time of discovery, and of genius. Within Leonardo's lifetime, Gutenberg printed his first Bibles; Columbus discovered the New World; and Michelangelo painted the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. At the age of twenty, Leonardo began to make a name for himself as a brilliant painter and craftsman. Though he completed relatively few works in his life (only 15 paintings are fully attributed to him), Leonardo’s ability to render light, perspective and human expression built him an enduring reputation as one of the world’s greatest painters.
But as skilled an artist as he was, for much of his life Leonardo was even more sought after as a brilliant scientist, military engineer, and inventor. His curiosity and his expertise were limitless. He made remarkable discoveries in every field, from medicine to optics to engineering and applied science....