Sunday, August 30, 2009

Being Inspired by Others

Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) is widely acclaimed for his paintings, the "Mona Lisa" and "Last Supper." He is also hailed as the archetype of the Renaissance man, as he was a polymath: a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. What incredibly impresses me is the means by which Leonardo da Vinci became all of these things. Largely he was self-taught through observation and experimentation.


Study of Hydraulic Machines

Study of Man

Study of Gradations of Shadows on Spheres

Study of the Female Anatomy

Study of Water

Study of a Flying Machine

Although da Vinci studied painting with the renowned Florentine painter, Verrochio, his art, engineering and scientific inventions were greatly influenced by personal study, even though many of his inventions were largely unused in his day. If there is anything that is more damaging in our time it is the hampering of the young and old in the discovery and creative processes. Da Vinci lived to the ripe old age of 67 and never stopped inventing. One does not need to be licensed or learned at the university to discover new things. What one needs is an inquisitive mind and an environment to be, often one needs to create this for oneself oppositionally. But the many possibilities are worth it and inspiring indeed.


Marion said...

How encouraging, Judith! I needed this today. Thank you. I didn't know that this mighty man was self-educated. There's hope for us autodidacts without college degrees. Hugs & Blessings...

Judith Ellis said...

Indeed, Marion! There is also hope for those of us with more than a few degrees. :-) Peace and love to you.

septembermom said...

Very interesting post about Leonardo da Vinci! What an amazing mind and imagination. I like the idea of inventing throughout life. Let's be Renaissance Women!! I know that you're already there, Judith :)

The Write Girl said...

Hi Judith,

Da Vinci was truly an inspiration. It's amazing what he was able to achieve and do with self discovery. I also believe he was gifted by God to do all those things. Truly incredible.

Judith Ellis said...

Uh, thanks for the vote of confidence, Kelly, but not quite! :-) But, hey, we can yet be--Renaissance women indeed! Let's!

Judith Ellis said...

The Write Girl - Yes, he is a truly an inspiration. I also agree that he was gifted by God to accomplish much. But, of course, without da Vinci there would not have been such great works. God is also no respecter of person. We can all accomplish great things. By the way, I love your poetry.

DB said...

Thank you Judith. Da Vinci is one of those people, like Plato, Shakespeare and Bach, whose language is greater than his words. His messages are in bottles that keep appearing on our shores.


Judith Ellis said...

Pleasure, DB. Yes, Plato, Shakespeare and Bach were all geniuses in their particular areas and their work lingers on for centuries. But neither of these remarkable men was as diverse as Da Vinci.

It almost seems unfair when you consider the genuises of the three above alongside that of Da Vinci, not that comparision matter here. But when his body of work is considered it's truly awesome.

Da Vinci was incredibly inquisitive about everything, so it seems.

DB said...

Very true, Judith. I was addressing the idea of how valuable his work is to the present day, as with the others.

Judith Ellis said...

Ah, yes, DB.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

Will your statement gives justice to Ralph Waldo Emerson's words?

We are shut up in schools and college recitation rooms for ten or fifteen years, and come out at last with a belly-full of words and do not know a thing. The things taught in schools and colleges are not an education, but the means of education.

After all he was also a lecturer.

I cannot opposed to the reality and practicality of your notion that the many possibilities to being creative lies in having an inquisitive mind.

If Da Vinci is only alive today, he would be feeling proud how much his works are being viewed with much respect by the world.

Judith Ellis said...

Very nice, Bonnie. You have made me smile the biggest smile and agree wholeheartedly with the essence of your words. Thank you.

I must also say that I am a great advocate of higher learning and to a large degree I believe that systematic training is necessary for the basic fundamentals. But I must also say that how we do such matters.

In other words, it's not only a matter of what is taught, but how we teach. The fact that kids are learning different things all of this country I do not think has been useful; the sciences have suffered greatly, I think.

The 60s revolution in teaching brought about a lot of good but it can be argued that along with it came a lot of bad too. Freedom is not without restrictions or discipline. Creativity actually needs both.

Bonnie Bonsai said...

So as I do have observed. I often wonder what ever happens to the system of education these days? The old-fashion school is being replaced by the so-called modern teaching in concordance to the changing times and yes, many aspects of educational fundamentals have been exterminated if not extinguished. The result? Our society turns chaotic and the children are confused. However, not everything is bad. I just didn't like too much injections of politics into the school system.

Judith Ellis said...

Bonnie - I agree that everything is not bad. I have a niece who is autistic and she has been mainstreamed from the beginning with an aide by her side her entire education. She is 14 now. I'm afraid that she would not have gotten such attention in the old system.

Namely, I'm referring here to our allowing kids to pick there classes, the avoidance of math and science, and variance of curricula from state to state and city to city.

I used to wonder if our lack of emphasis on handwriting will matter. But it looks like young people are not influenced by that. I wonder if there is difference between hand/eye coordination. By the time I got to school there was not the emphasis on handwriting and by middle school we were introduced to computers.

Frankly, I never liked handwriting, but I loved writing, putting thoughts on paper. I always thought that handwriting got in the way of my thoughts. I was always trying to be neat. My handwriting sucked, still does. :-) But there was still that glide of the hand across the paper that I think has a different effect on the brain than clicking does.

Maybe it's just a matter of style and the brain adapts to any style, a glide or click. What is for certain is that the clicking seems to allow me to move faster as two hands are better than one. I still wonder about the process of thoughts in action.

I also wonder about the confusion with the Internet and the distinction between information and knowledge. There is often a huge distinction with the former just being essentially noise, not to mention that information on the Internet is often not reliable, and the latter a process that require individual thought funneled through our own experience and imagination.

Pure Trait said...

The Lightbox gallery in Woking is currently hosting Da Vinci Inventions: Leonardo and his Machines and the lectures that they have scheduled for this month look fantastic. Dr Martin Kemp is talking on "Leonardo and the Remaking of Nature" on 20th Sept and The Rivalry between Leonardo and Michaelangelo with Dr Lindow on the 24th sounds even better.

Judith Ellis said...

Pure Trait - Thank you for that information. I'll check out the link.