The answer to the question is overwhelmingly a “yes”, with art perhaps, in the great mind of Leonardo da Vinci, far from his first thought, given the number of things Leonardo da Vinci was involved in during his lifetime. This is because he is today referred to as being something of a polymath in his day. A polymath is someone who has knowledge that spans a significant number of different subjects, all of which they will have studied extensively. The first time this word was used in publication was 1603, by Hamburg philosopher Johann von Wowern. This was, of course after Leonardo da Vinci’s lifetime, which was between 1452 and 1519.
The span of Leonardo da Vinci’s painting was to cover the high renaissance, early renaissance, renaissance, Italian renaissance, and Florentine painting periods. During this time he, of course, painted the Mona Lisa. This was a painting famed for its lack of eyebrows. But then, that was how women of the time presented themselves. This painting is evidence in itself that Leondardo da Vinci possessed knowledge beyond painting. For instance, the Mona Lisa displays the artistic technique of sfumato which uses subtle light and shadow graduations to model form. It shows Leonardo da Vinci’s understanding of the skull beneath the skin.
So, What Else Was Leonardo da Vinci Involved In?
Well, Leonardo da Vinci, apart from being an artist, was also an anatomist, architect, botanist, cartographer, draughtsman, engineer, geologist, inventor, mathematician, musician, scientist, sculptor, theorist, and writer. He could draw on all this ability when painting. He had an understating of the makeup of things and how they worked. It was then a case of the painting techniques portraying accurately what he knew to be underneath the surfaces of what he painted.
Interesting Facts About Leonardo da Vinci
There are some things that you might not know about Leonardo da Vinci. For instance, that he didn’t have a formal education, apart from learning the basics with regards to reading, writing, and arithmetic. Despite that, though, he went on to achieve greatness and was quite capable of educating himself to the levels in each subject that made him, by definition, a polymath.
Despite the high degree of competence Leonardo da Vinci achieved with his painting, he didn’t paint that much. We think this today because there are only 17 surviving works that can be attributed to him.
Leonardo da Vinci had a fascination with the human body, which explains the detail that went into his painting the Mona Lisa, in terms of its facial accuracy. While many must have thought for a while that he has missed giving importance to eyebrows, this was simply not the case. He was painting entirely accurately what he saw and to greater depths. It was not just medical knowledge through books that Leonardo da Vinci acquired, he was known to have carried out 30 human dissections at hospitals in Florence, Milan, and Rome.
A 72-page notebook of Leonardo da Vinci’s which contained many scientific musings that were written between 1506 and 1510 is currently owned by Bill Gates, who co-founded Microsoft. It must be everyone’s desire to gain insight into the great man’s mind and how it thought. Admittedly by different measures, but the IQ of Leonardo da Vinci was thought to have been in the range of 180 to 220 when the average IQ today is 100, and anything over 130 is considered very high.
To end this article on the many sides to Leonardo da Vinci, it is interesting to note that the great man had no real last name because “da Vinci” simply translates to “of Vinci”, which was his hometown. It was common at the time to name someone like this.