Why Leonardo da Vinci wrote backward

Da_Vinci_mirror_writing

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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Published by Wells Baum

A daily blogger who connects the dots between arts and life.

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  1. Why did da Vinci write backward? It’s a lot more simplistic than one may think. He was born left-handed. When he learned to write, he was forced to do so right-handed, as was the custom at that time. The writing turned out backward — mirror writing.

    I am surprised none of you ‘experts’ figured this out sooner. It took an actual left-handed person who writes the same way when forced to do so right-handed, to explain something that had been going on for millennia.

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