Leonardo Da Vinci was one of kind, a genius out of time and a man of heroic stature.
I will not take up space in this short-reflection to talk about his famous paintings or his fabulous designs, we all know this stuff already, and they are less important than the spirit with which he pursued them.
Understand this: Leonardo did not really consider himself an artist, he thought of himself as an engineer.
He was a scientist and a problem solver.
He was more than a man of his time, slightly older than Michelangelo and Raphael, a little younger than Donatello, he studied with all of them at the bodega under the tutelage of Verocchio, and he set himself apart.
Leonardo was a heroic visionary, he studied, experimented and practiced his craft with a determination that made others shy away from him.
He was reclusive.
He painted as a means of funding his other projects, often taking the money from a wealthy patron, never to deliver the canvass they had commissioned.
He was famous in his day and was invited to take up residence at the court of many royal personages, most of which he declined, though he did take up with the King of France, Francis I.
He was happiest when he held the title of Military Engineer for Ludovico Sforza, the Duke Milan, in whose service he encountered the infamous Nicollo Machiavelli.
Leonardo’s genius was heroic, not so much through his personal habits and social skills but in his capacity as a problem solver, theoretician, scientist and engineer. He outshone all of his contemporaries.
He failed at many things, and his biographers say that he died a lonely unhappy man, but history holds him peerless, and an example to us all concerning the potency of the human spirit.
Given First – 2020.05.02