From Thomas Edison to Alexander Graham Bell, the history of the world has benefitted from the brilliance and ingenuity of many great inventors. While many inventors have left an indelible imprint on the world, none was more versatile as the great Leonardo da Vinci. Along with being of the greatest painters in history, Da Vinci was a prolific inventor whose designs were amazingly ahead of their time. If his designs would have ever been fully developed, they would have very well revolutionized the history of technology.
Da Vinci’s attention to detail was unparalleled. He drew meticulous sketches and diagrams of his inventions which he maintained in vast collection of notebooks. Sadly, Da Vinci’s interest in developing his ideas waned or he had difficulty securing financial backing. Because of these reasons, da Vinci’s inventions were never constructed during his lifetime.
While the tools during the 15th and 16th weren’t advanced enough to build the majority of da Vinci’s inventions, engineers in recent years have been able to reconstruct working models of the majority of the genius’s devices, thus proving that not only could da Vinci conceptualize his inventions, but he could design working models.
So what exactly contributed to da Vinci’s genius? What allowed him to become perhaps the greatest thinker of the modern age?
Below, you will find the various characteristics that allowed da Vinci’s brilliance to shine.
While da Vinci is often remember for creating the Mona Lisa, he was also a master painter, architect, engineer, sculptor, scientist, musician, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer. The sheer breadth of his skills is remarkable. Remarked art historian Helen Gardner, the range and depth of his interests were without precedent and “his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote”. His insatiable curiosity and sheer creative prowess solidify him as a prime example of Renaissance virtuoso. Perhaps one of the main factors contributing to da Vinci’s versatility was his restless mind. He frequently started a new project before finishing the one he was currently working on.
A True Pioneer
To appreciate the brilliance of da Vinci is important to understand how scientific information was acquired during his lifetime. During the 15th and 16th centuries the only way a scientist could gather information was either from the bible, or from the writings of scientists who preceded him. The pervading theory of the time was that experimentation was inherently flawed. Da Vinci realized that scientific knowledge would require repeated experimentation. Additionally, da Vinci established the connection between science and mathematics. Yes, he did fail in numerous scientific investigations, but this was due to the fact that several of the mathematical laws he needed to carry out his experiments had not yet been discovered. Although da Vinci faced these restrictions, he was considered a true pioneer in the scientific community. The BBC was once quoted as saying “clinical anatomists believe that Leonardo’s anatomical work was hundreds of years ahead of its time.”
Throughout history, many famous and successful inventors have been noted for their eccentric behavior. Nikola Tesla had numerous strange quirks, possessed a photographic memory and was plagued by a strong case of OCD. Each day, the electrical engineer would flex his toes 100 times, believing that it would stimulate his brain.
Da Vinci was recognized as being quite eccentric himself. Among many of da Vinci’s eccentric behaviors was his peculiar sleeping regime. The inventor slept for only 2 hours a day. In order to accomplish this feat, he had to adhere to a strict schedule, with series of 20-30 minutes of sleep, every four hours of each day. Da Vinci’s reason for such a curious sleep schedule? He had more free time to brainstorm, have vivid dreams and maintain complete control over his body.
It’s also possible that Leonardo suffered from dyslexia. His mirror-writing could have simply been code to prevent people from stealing his notes or he could have suffered from dyslexia: a learning disorder that causes people to reverse the position of letters within a word, or write separate letters backwards. Interestingly, many left-handed people who are dyslexic write in a similar mirror-writing fashion comparable to Leonardo’s style.
Da Vinci possessed an eternal curiosity and sheer genius that lead to him being recognized as one of the most creative and brilliant men not only of his time but of the modern age.
Edward Lakatis owns and operates Idea Design Studio, an invention development and marketing company. He is passionate about all things related to invention, and helping other inventor’s realize their products potentials. If you have a great product that you believe should be brought to market, call IDS at 888-864-1780 to find out how to turn your idea into a product!