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Arts Creativity Quotes

‘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.

Simplicity is the reduction of complexity. It subtracts the gray space in the middle and renders it black and white.

Simplicity comes from revision

Simplicity retains the essence and deletes the rest. Take a look at the sequence of Picasso’s drawing of a bull. He pairs down the bull from full detail down to its fundamental shape.

picasso bulls head #creativity #drawing #art

Once we remove the excess, we can retain what’s essential. But the final result appears intuitive because all the explaining was done in its reduction.

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Arts Quotes

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

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Leonardo da Vinci: Mock-up for a flying machine

  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 was also a tinkerer, even a procrastinator. Below are some sketches from his notebooks where he noodled on concepts and ideas.

“Learn how to see.
Realize that everything
connects to everything else.”

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Drawing of bird in flight

“I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”

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Drawing of torso and arms

“He who can Copy can create.”

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Studying a seated man and stream of water

“Learning never exhausts the mind.”

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Study of hands

All images via @ArtistDaVinci

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Creativity Life & Philosophy Quotes

Lessons from a genius

via giphy

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 in SAT scores and grades as gauges of smartness. But curiosity unlocks the keys to innovation and combinatorial creativity.

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Creativity Productivity & Work Psychology Science

The undivided mind

Science, Wonder, Art #art #creativity

Wonder sits at the intersection of science and art. Combining the two disciplines is what fueled Leonard Da Vinci’s creative genius. The imagination needs time to daydream and gather string, letting the unconscious connect the dots between disparate things.

Said author Walter Isaacson on the artist in his new book Leonardo da Vinci, “procrastinating like Leonardo requires work: It involves gathering all the possible facts and ideas, and only after that allowing the various ingredients to simmer.”

“I roamed the countryside searching for answers to things I did not understand. Why shells existed on the tops of mountains along with the imprints of coral and plants and seaweed usually found in the sea. Why the thunder lasts a longer time than that which causes it, and why immediately on its creation the lightning becomes visible to the eye while thunder requires time to travel. How the various circles of water form around the spot which has been struck by a stone, and why a bird sustains itself in the air. These questions and other strange phenomena engage my thought throughout my life.”

Leonardo da Vinci

Curiosity unites both art and science to help realize the improbable.

Image via The Imaginary Foundation

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Arts Creativity Writing

Why Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward

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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 science so brilliantly really need to hide his work? Perhaps it was practical: as a lefty, he didn’t want to smudge the ink. As a contrarian, Da Vinci also strived to be different. As blogger Walker’s Chapters writes:

“Do you really think that a man as clever as Leonardo thought it was a good way to prevent people from reading his notes? This man, this genius, if he truly wanted to make his notes readable only to himself, he would’ve invented an entirely new language for this purpose. We’re talking about a dude who conceptualized parachutes even before helicopters were a thing.”

Read more: Why Did Leonardo da Vinci Write Backwards? A Look Into the Ultimate Renaissance Man’s “Mirror Writing”

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Arts Creativity

Study of five grotesque heads, 1493

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From the 16th to 18th century, Leonardo da Vinci’s grotesque sketches from the High Renaissance period in 1493 were his most emulated and celebrated works of art. Wrote art historian Kenneth Clark: ‘For three centuries they were [seen as] the most typical of his works. Today we find them disgusting, or at best wearisome.’

The beauty is in its strangeness. Why did we ever lose our taste in monstrosities?

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