Learning from Leo

As I walked towards the entrance of the Da Vinci Museum, I pondered what could possibly fill an entire museum dedicated primarily to a single man. This can’t be filled with just paintings I thought. But what else could be in this museum besides Mona Lisas? Clocks, city models, drawings, and all sorts of mechanisms caught my eye as I explored this museum I was beginning to learn more about. As the tour guide spoke about Da Vinci, it began to occur to me that Da Vinci dabbled into anything he wanted to (which was a lot), and he did that quite successfully.  

One thing I quickly associate with Da Vinci is the L’Uomo Vitruviano drawing. As we looked at a replica on the wall, the tour guide delved deeper into the meaning of this sketch. The depth of thought behind the seemingly simple difference of a circle and square shape fascinated me. It was novel to me that there was a difference in the way life was perceived depending on the shape the tips of the man’s limbs outlined. When he fit perfectly within the outline of a square, then it represented that man is the center of the universe. When the man fit perfectly within the outline of a circle, it represented that God was the center of the universe. The tour guide told us that Da Vinci believed man is the center of everything, which was the novel belief commonly held during the Renaissance period. This whole debate over who the center of everything fascinates me because it brings up a deep philosophical topic that no one would really dare to discuss these days, at least in my life. I think looking at the bigger picture of life is interesting and refreshing every once in awhile, as discussing and sharing ideas with others can open our minds and perceptions and also help us to develop our own beliefs on a stronger basis. Another aspect of the drawing that fascinated me was that it is believed that the drawing contains the perfect proportions of a man. I wonder how Da Vinci determined what the perfect proportions of a man should be. Did he use science to figure this out? His opinion? Others’ opinions? I find the “perfect” proportion of a man to be completely subjective, but I’m not sure the rest of the world can agree. With Da Vinci’s legacy, it seems that if he wrote that these are the perfect proportions of a man, the people would believe it to be true.

Another thing that fascinated me about Da Vinci’s legacy was the variety of his endeavors. From art to architecture to engineering, it seems like Da Vinci did it all. Every exhibit offered another field that Da Vinci conquered. That amazes me, as most famous figures in history are typically known for a single field of study or even a single idea. The Mona Lisa doesn’t even touch the success of Da Vinci’s life. The models, inventions and works of art he sketched and engineered seemed to bring ideas of all different realms of study to a single legacy. The intricacy of his models seemed to never end. His handwriting in his sketches was not legible to me, but something about it seemed persistent to me. When I see a great artist, I wonder what inspires him, because everyone is inspired by someone or something. For Da Vinci, it was the work and life of other great artists and mechanics that inspired him. This fascinates me because I can attribute the seemingly unexplainable prodigal talent to multiple muses of other unexplainable talent. I think we can all learn from Da Vinci if we try to learn from the great people that come before us because we’re all really working together to make the world a better place.

Lastly, what astounded me most is the fact that about half of his models and works were lost after his death. One student that inherited his works was immediately irresponsible and lost them, while the responsible student that inherited them kept them but his descendants later were irresponsible and lost them. That means that the incredible remains we do have fro

m have from him don’t even touch his true portfolio. If we had all of Da Vinci’s works, I’m not sure where the world would exactly be, but I do know it would be a lot smarter.

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