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Leonardo Da Vinci

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Always thinking, many works unfinished, lived in many places, this was the life of Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci had a powerful mind and was a very curious and daring boy. Leonardo was so curious about flying, he jumped off a barn with wings that he made by himself. Leonardo loved nature and exploring. He would also like to draw geometrical shapes.

Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Vinci was a farming community with hillsides, growing grapes, fruit trees and olives. His mother was a peasant woman and his father was a notary. He was often alone, exploring and experimenting in the hills and other areas of his home. This gave him a bond and a love of nature that is reflected in all his art and sculpture. As a teenager, Leonardo was apprenticed to an artist and sculptor, named Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence.

By the age of twenty-one Leonardo was an accomplished painter and sculptor. He painted many portraits of royalty, dukes, duchesses, kings and queens. His most famous portrait is the 'Mona Lisa'. The subject was the wife of a Florentine merchant. Its fame is due to her strange and mysterious smile. It is thought that Leonardo used court jesters to make her smile as he worked. Margaret Livingstone, a present-day authority on visual processing, has a scientific explanation about Mona Lisa's smile. When people look at a face, their eye goes to the eyes, and the peripheral vision, (the side vision), which is less accurate, goes to the other areas of the face. So, when someone looks at the eyes of Mona Lisa, the peripheral vision goes to her mouth, and the shadows painted there by Leonardo suggest to the viewer that "elusive smile". If you just looked at her mouth, she doesn't seem to be smiling at all. With Leonardo's extensive study of optics, this could have been deliberate, adding to his genius.

Leonardo experimented with different types of paints and plaster. This was probably one of the reasons for his interest in these arts, because he left so many works unfinished. Through his painting and sculpture, he found away to pursue his experiments and use the things he learned, and still be accepted by the society he lived in..

By 1503 he worked to aid Florence's war with Pisa. He designed an aqua duct plan to cut off the water to Pisa so that Florence would win the war. He was then established as a creative and talented engineer. He was often in the employ of the Nobility for his engineering skills. He served as Principal engineer for the Duke of Milan and drew up plans, for portable bridges, ships, armored vehicles, catapults, and other war machines.

In 1514s to 1516 Leonardo lived in Rome, and built both toys and machines. He studied optics and tried to make large round mirrors, like the ones used in telescopes. Craftsmen in Leonardo's time knew how to use and repair familiar machines. Leonardo figured if he could understand how each machine part worked; he could use these parts to make new machines.

He was also interested in botany, human anatomy, and used animal parts from a butcher shop to study. He also tried to dissect a human corpse, but got in trouble with the Catholic Church because it was considered a sin. But he was able to develop a model of how the human heart works.

In 1514s to 1516 Leonardo lived in Rome, and built both toys and machines. He studied optics and tried to make large round mirrors, like the ones used in telescopes. Craftsmen in Leonardo's time knew how to use and repair familiar machines. Leonardo figured if he could understand how each machine part worked; he could use these parts to make new machines.

Leonardo made sketches and plans of things like a tank, helicopters, a plane, and an arithmetic machine. These are common machines in our lives. His

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