Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous people in the Western world. He is almost the sole reason for the renaissance, and because of him, we as humans have a huge and vast knowledge of the world. Genius or crazy person, it’s all in how you look at it. But his contributions to modern humanity and technology are some of the most impressive ever made, with his discoveries actually being re-discovered all the time.
But who was he? And how did he get to be so famous that more than 500 years later we’re still talking about him and learning from his notes?
Leonardo da Vinci was born outside of Florence in the small town of Vinci in 1452 to a single peasant mother out of wedlock, da Vinci didn’t stand a chance for greatness originally, especially since illegitimate children had very few rights at that time.
Despite the fact that very little is known about his early life, what we do know is that he began working under a very famous Florentine painter and sculptor. It is believed that this is where he not only gained his ability to paint and sculpt, but also where he learned to pay attention to every little detail – something which was quite easy for this naturally inquisitive young man.
As a young man
Leonardo quickly became known throughout the Kingdom of Florence (before it was a part of what is now Italy), painting several beautiful works for various patrons of the arts including the Medicis. He painted several world renowned paintings such as the Last Supper, the Mona Lisa, and Virgin of the Rocks during this time.
Scientist in an age of religion
One of da Vinci’s greatest works is the Vitruvian Man. Da Vinci was obsessed with the natural world and the physiology of various creatures and animals – and humans were no exception. His drawing of the Vitruvian Man, and describes how the ideal human body is proportioned all the way from the head to the toes.
Da Vinci was also interested in medicine, discovering how the human body worked and what was connected to what. Keep in mind that this was at a time when potions were considered medicine, and people thought that the heart was where knowledge was stored, as no one could quite figure out what the brain was for.
Yes, Leonardo da Vinci also invented robots. They were real, moving, honest to goodness made of metal robots. One of the first ones he built (and that were ever built) was of a lion which would walk, and stand. This surely would have astounded the people of the late 1400s. Keep in mind, automatic clocks still hadn’t even been invented by this time.
Another robot which the genius from Florence built was a robot of a knight. The robot was able to walk around a bit, move its arms, and raise its visor. Both of these robots, which surely freaked out the people watching them move – operated using various gears, pulleys, and a loaded spring. The spring was the same type as those used in toy cars which you pull back and let go.