Leonardo da Vinci Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in Florence, Italy. Ever since birth he was in love with the study of science and art. Leonardo da Vinci did not only influence his culture with his art work, but with his numerous inventions and his study on the human body. Leonardo was a determined man who changed his culture by going against his society and following his dreams. By following his dreams he did what no man had ever done before. Leonardo introduced a new style of painting and sculpting to his society.
From the beginning he broke away from tradition and went with a focus on the natural world. By painting one glaze of oil paint over another he would create a misty look. The mist look would slightly blur the forms in his paintings unlike stiff in traditional paintings. This technique is called sfumato. Most people said that sfumato ruined Leonardo’s paintings. He also used light and dark colors next to each other to make a painting look more natural.
It was a new concept for Italian culture. He also used oil paints which were new to Italy. During the Renaissance most paintings were either religious scenes or portraits, landscapes were found only in the background of paintings. But painting landscapes as backgrounds only was not good enough for Leonardo. He went against tradition.
His first dated drawing is a country landscape entitled “The Valley of The Arno”. When Leonardo moved to Milan, his first project was to build a statue of his employer’s father. Leonardo had a brilliant plan to make a statue like no-other. The town’s people said it could not be done, but Leonardo came through. It took him 11 years to complete a 26-foot high clay sculpture.
He was the first to complete such a tedious project, after other artist learned of Leonardo’s accomplishments they too tried Leonardo’s style, he was a major influence. Leonardo’s many finding influenced his culture and taught his people to be unique in their style of painting even though some people didn’t agree with it. Leonardo also contributed to the world by his numerous inventions, many of which are still in use today. Some of his contributions were in warfare. He invented the crossbow which is much like our automatic weapons today.
Leonardo’s thinking was far ahead of his time. In his notebooks his drawings of tanks and fortresses were used almost 450 years later in World War I. Da Vinci’s tank was similar to the tank that we use today, but then the people did not accept it and did not trust it therefore they did not use it. Leonardo also invented a fortress, he made it very detailed and made it so nobody could get into it. The fortress was one of the main defense planes in Italy’s war against France. Leonardo kept many drawings of his inventions that were never made – such as his helicopter in his notebook with his secret mirror writings.
Leonard influenced his culture with all his musical instruments such as the drum and violin-organist. He designed a clarinet type musical instrument called the woodwind keys. He was also the first person to make an instrument that had more than eight holes. This allowed musicians to play lower notes. Leonardo also invented the life preserver. Unlike the modern life-preserver made of Styrofoam or plastic Leonardo’s life-belt was made of leather filled with air but other wise it looked exactly like those of today’s, his inventions are still helping us today. Many of Leonardo’s inventions made use of the water wheel.
For example Leonardo was the first to design a paddle powered boat. Although Leonardo demonstrated that it worked to the people of his town they still would not use it, they were not acceptable to change. All though Leonardo da Vinci was best known as an artist he mainly made his living by his civil engineering. Leonardo invented a retractable bridge for military use. I t was good for protection, Leonardo said “With it you may pursue and at any time flee from the enemy” All of Leonardo’s invention influenced culture, by introducing a new way to think and by helping the world around him.
One of Leonardo’s greatest contributions was in the study of human anatomy. He was interested in understanding how the human body worked. He was not discouraged by the church’s negative attitude toward the dissection of a corps. He dissected more than thirty bodies. From discoveries he made a model of the human heart, eye, and brain. He made many sketches of his findings, one is of an open womb with the embryo inside he was surprisingly correct. He influenced other scientist to do dissections and led many to findings far beyond what he found.
He was also the first to draw parts of the body in cross sectioning. This method is still used today. He was specially interested in the eye, he understood what is now known as the basic principles of optics. He also understood that the eye is a lens which is connected by nerves to the brain. He was far ahead of his time in the study of anatomy but in later years his finding led to many other discoveries. Leonardo was captivated by the nature which surrounded him, in his life he spent a great deal of time trying to understand the world and all of its creatures.
His works and studies were and still are an inspiration to all. He contributed thousands of ideas, models, art wok and inventions to the world. He influenced his culture by his art work, inventions, and study of anatomy and they were the basics to what is now our culture.