It is day three here in Milan on the Plus3 Italy trip, and everyone is beginning to adapt to the time change and jet lag that we have been experiencing throughout the past couple of days. Again, early this morning we took the metro to another site, The Natural Museum of Science, which houses several of Leonardo Da Vinci’s ideas and inventions, along with other historical artifacts of Italy’s past. Because our trip consists of many engineering majors, we focused on the multitalented Leonardo Da Vinci. The accomplishments in Leonardo’s lifetime furthered the studies of various subjects, including engineering, various art forms, the study of human anatomy, and botany. Essentially, this man influenced the entire world in his life span as well as created a base structure for future inventors, botanists, engineers, doctors, philosophers, and artists to further research in each of their fields. Putting Leonardo Da Vinci’s knowledge into perspective is hard to do because of the hundreds of years ahead in his studies he was compared to other people around the world in his time. It is unclear the concepts and innovations he could have accomplished if he were not detained by a lack of technology and an unavoidable war. Furthermore, what incredible things could he be discovering if he had been alive in this day in age?
When we arrived at the The Natural Museum of Science, unfortunately, I had little to no knowledge of what Leonardo Da Vinci actually did throughout his lifetime, or to the extent of his importance to the country of Italy and around the entire world. One thing I was sure about was his artistic abilities, as he painted The Last Supper. In addition, he composed arguably the most famous and important painting known to man, the Mona Lisa, a portrait of a woman named Lisa Gherardini. To my surprise, art was only a subdivision of his many, many talents, and wasn’t even his greatest focus. What fascinated me about Leonardo, was that he was able to intertwine both his artistic ability with his knowledge of mathematics and architecture to create a beautiful, well constructed city. The tour guide also mentioned how Leonardo based the design of his city on “beauty, geometry, and functionality”, because he not only wanted it to be functional, but also aesthetically appealing. This city was also strategically placed throughout various canals in order to use the current as a form of power. In addition, it was purposely distanced from rivers in order to avoid the threat of those rivers overflowing during a large rainfall and flooding the city. Leonardo also incorporated his art into various inventions and models that he had drawn up and completed. His inventions showed me that his works are more than just physics, chemistry, and biology, but are a form of beautiful art.
I was also extremely impressed by Leonardo Da Vinci’s drive to succeed. He was a man who did not ever stop thinking, and expanded his knowledge day to day. In today’s culture around the world, it is often difficult to specialize in only one of the many skills that Leonardo had. For example, to obtain an engineering degree today is, to say the least, much easier said than done. Leonardo was not only the best engineer of his time, but also the best in many other professions as well. In this drawings alone, including his exploded drawings (drawings that are drawn with each piece separate from one another in order for the inventor to correctly engineer and construct the product) he had over 25,000. Unfortunately, after his death, an irresponsible student of his lost 13,000 of those drawings in a duel. Only 12,000 of his drawings remain, which is still a strikingly high number. My admiration of Leonardo extends further to his philosophical movements. His drawing, the Vitruvian Man, consists of a man first inscribed in a square and then as he moves his feet and arms, becomes inscribed in a circle. Because the man is now inscribed in the circle, it represents that man is perfect and eternal much like the circle is. In ancient times, the circle was was described with words such as perfect, boundless, and everlasting, based on its shape and lack of sides.
Overall, this was my favorite day yet, as Leonardo’s unique and knowledgeable personality is something that I look up to and idolize. He truly was one of the smartest and most innovative person to ever live. The museum was also beautiful, and taught me a lot about Italian history. I would like to go to more places like as this museum because of my Italian background and my curiosity of the country where my family is from. Again, I am loving this trip and cannot wait to experience more of this great country for ten more days!