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Arts Creativity Writing

Why Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward

Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward (mirror writing) because he didn’t want others stealing his ideas. Writes Da Vinci biographer Rachel A. Koestler-Grack: “The observations in his notebooks were written in such a way that they could be read only by holding the books up to a mirror.” But did a genius who combined art and […]

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Arts Creativity

Leonardo da Vinci and the Codex Huygens

The Codex Huygens is a Renaissance manuscript for a treatise on painting closely related to Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519). Its author has been identified as the North Italian artist Carlo Urbino (ca. 1510/20–after 1585), who must have been familiar with Leonardo’s notes before they were dispersed. Some of the drawings are faithful copies of now […]

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Books

Bill Gates on the genius of Leonardo da Vinci

A good book review from Bill Gates on Walter Isaacson’s latest book Leonardo da Vinci. More than any other Leonardo book I’ve read, this one helps you see him as a complete human being and understand just how special he was. He came close to understanding almost all of what was known on the planet […]

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Arts Quotes

Leonardo Da Vinci: Thinking with an extra wrinkle in the brain

  No artist contained an extra wrinkle in their brain as big as Leonardo Da Vinci. He was a creative genius who combined the disciplines of both art and science to make something new. Leonardo’s formula: see, contemplate, emulate, remix, and recast. His undivided mind drove his imagination which led him toward discovery and innovation. He […]

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Arts Creativity Quotes

Why simplicity is the ultimate sophistication

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication,” wrote Leonardo Da Vinci. He would paint over work that didn’t meet up with his expectations. Not surprisingly, Steve Jobs adopted da Vinci’s maxim in designing Apple computers. Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It unclutters the multiplicity of crayons and fence-sitting gray space in the middle and replaces objects […]

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Arts Books

The imagination of Leonardo da Vinci

“To truly be creative, you have to work across disciplines,” says author Walter Isaacson on Leonardo da Vinci’s creative genius. After five years of writing and research (‘gathering string’) comes the eponymous book Leonardo da Vinci, due out this October but available for preorder on Amazon. Two things stuck out at the most in the […]

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Arts Creativity

Leonardo’s strange faces

There’s an excellent piece in the NY Times about Leonardo Da Vinci’s obsession with drawing weird faces: Leonardo was a true Renaissance man, fascinated with everything — the mechanics of flight, architecture, engineering, botany, artillery and human anatomy — but one of his favorite private pastimes was to draw faces, either as scribbles in the […]

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Creativity Life & Philosophy Quotes

Lessons from a genius

Leonardo da Vinci had almost no schooling and could barely read Latin or do long division. His genius was of the type we can understand, even take lessons from. It was on skills we can aspire to improve in ourselves, such as curiosity and intense observation. Walter Isaacson, Leonardo Da Vinci We get caught up […]

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Arts Daily Prompts History

‘Water is itself the obstacle to water’

Leonardo da Vinci obsessed with water more than any of his multidisciplinary interests: architecture, science, painting, and sculpture. For Leonardo da Vinci, the current represented that perfect chaos that separated air from water. In his Book on Waters, he wrote: Nothing shares a surface with something and something shares a surface with nothingness. And the […]

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Arts Creativity

The great German artist Albrecht Dürer

Envious of the Italian artists like Leonardo da Vinci and Raphael, the German artist Albrecht Dürer ventured to Italy in 1496 to prove his worth as a painter. He had already gained a reputation for his woodcut prints. After years of hanging out in Venice and gathering the technique of oil paintings, he created one […]