Our highly-engineered and digitally digitized world is a good breeding ground for specialists of all kinds. Those who are well-versed in their field of expertise are recognized, even if they are a complete rivet in other areas. An IT specialist does not need to know whether the tomato is now a fruit or a vegetable. Nor does a climate researcher need to be able to write the computer programs for his prognosis models. To put it bluntly: the future belongs to the Fachidioten. Logically, since the world has grown so intensively in the last centuries that an individual can not possibly be versed in all areas of knowledge.
565 years ago this was still quite different: all natural sciences were still in children's shoes and many important inventions had not yet been made. Our planet was as big as today, but the world was still tight: traveling was long and cumbersome, and communication among people was limited to a small radius. In this time-historical epoch, a man was born who is still regarded as the universal genius: Leonardo da Vinci. Sculptor, architect, inventor, engineer, anatomist, painter, philosopher and mechanic. No area of the then sciences and arts, to which he had not put his stamp. His visionary inventions find their counterpart in many technical achievements of modern times. And by the way, he has immortalized the most mysterious smile of all time in the portrait of Mona Lisa. Reason enough to take a closer look at the life of this millenium.
On 15 April 1452 Leonardo is born in the small, fortified hill village of Vinci. The name of the castellated plant, about 30 kilometers from Florence, becomes Leonardo's origin: The Italian da Vinci means in English as much as "from Vinci". Leonardo is the unplanned result of a brief affair of his unmarried father with a peasant girl. Other sources refer to Leonardo's mother as a baptized Egyptian slave, but this theory is hardly controversial among historians.
Despite the unwanted paternity, the respected 25-year-old notary, Piero da Vinci, takes the boy as his own son. Piero da Vinci enjoys high prestige in artistic and intellectual circles thanks to his profession and attaches great importance to a solid formation of his illegitimate son. Leonardo is taught early in reading, writing and mathematics in his father's house. Particularly striking, however, is his artistic talent, which the father recognizes and promotes at an early stage. When Piero da Vinci proudly presents his son's drawings to the friendly painter Andrea del Verrocchio, he immediately recognizes the boy's great talent. He decides, together with the father, to take up young Leonardo in his workshop.
From the year 1470 Leonardo lives in Florence and receives education in painting and sculpture from Andrea del Verrocchio. The painter enjoys high prestige in the Florentine society and is renowned not only for being a good artist, but also for a gifted craftsman. In addition to dealing with brush, paint, hammer and chisel, Leonardo also learns the processing of wood, leather and metal. Even the knotting of wall carpets is based on his extensive curriculum. A total of seven years of Leonardo's training takes place. During this period his first work, clearly assigned to him, was created: a landscape drawing of the Arno valley from the year 1473. During the 15th and 16th century it was customary in the artists' workshops that the master perform certain parts of his works by journeyman and pupils left. In a painting of the baptism of Christ, a commissioned work of the convent Vallombrosa, Leonardo takes over the elaboration of a series of kneeling angels. The painting hangs today in the collection of the Uffizi of Florence and in particular the perfection and beauty of the angels introduced by Leonardo are praised by experts. Already during his apprenticeship Leonardo is taken up by the Florentine painter Malergilde and begins to work as an independent artist.
From 1482 to 1499 Leonardo da Vinci worked in Milan at the court of the Duke Ludovico Sforza as a painter and architect. In addition to painting, which Leonardo describes as a queen of all sciences, he is intensively dedicated to his scientific, physical and architectural studies. He continues to develop in the Milanese libraries, without being restricted to a discipline. During this time many of his masterpieces, such as the "Rock Crawfish Madonna" and the "Last Supper" are being created. Countless technical drafts, drawings and written notes testify to his obsession with research.
After his princely patron was overthrown by 1500, Leonardo had to leave the city overnight. This is followed by 16 nomadic years, during which he travels back to Florence via Mantua and Venice. This is where his probably most famous painting "La Gioconda", a portrait of the wife of the banker Giocondo. Your name: Mona Lisa. From 1503 onwards, Leonardo takes his own pupils for the first time. He deepens his knowledge of the human body through anatomical studies on over 30 corpses, which he dissects together with cooperating physicians. In answer to the question of the meaning of this work, he answers that the studies help him to reproduce the human body better in painting. Several extended journeys lead him and his pupils to Rome, Parma and France. From 1513 to 1516 Leonardo is in the service of Giuliano de 'Medici, a brother of the then Pope Leo X. During these three years he is primarily engaged in geometrical and geological researches and creates some of the most important works of European painting.
At the invitation of the French King Francis I, Leonardo da Vinci moved to Amboise on the Loire in 1516. The small Clos Lucé estate, where he devotes himself chiefly to technical and architectural designs, is at his disposal. In addition, he plans and monitors the hydrological work for a canal between the royal estate and the adjacent river system. But the social connection is not too short: Leonardo is responsible for the organization of the court feasts of Franz I in Amboise. On one of these occasions, to the astonishment of the guests, he presented a mechanical lion, who can move a few steps himself.
Even in his last weeks of life, Leonardo is animated by an unbroken creative urge. He feels close to death and has visions of the end of mankind, which he records in a series of water studies of the Flood in his sketchbook. He writes:
"The air will be thinner and without moisture, the rivers will remain without water supply, the soil will not grow any more. The animals will starve. There will be nothing left for man but to die. The once fertile earth becomes void and empty. "
Leonardo da Vinci dies on May 2, 1519, in his country castle. He is said to have been lying in the king's arms for unused sources. Leonardo is buried in the monastery of St. Florentin, where restoration work at the beginning of the nineteenth century has lost his bones forever.
"The river water you touch is the last of what has flowed away, and the first of that which flows. So is the present. "
Leonardo da Vinci
Published : 07/1/2017 06:00:00