One of the world’s most illustrious painters, the creator of the colossally famous Mona Lisa’s smile which still boggles people. Da Vinci was one of those people who could do anything. He was a polymath; he was a painter, a mathematician, a philosopher, an engineer, an inventor and what not. A lot of his designs have been tried and tested, a few did well and a few failed. But what is it that lures us towards the story of this extraordinary man?
His paintings. Shrouded in mystery and speculations.
Here a few things that are as mysterious as his paintings and as interesting.
1. He was an illegitimate child of a wealthy notary and a peasant in the little town of Vinci in Italy, near Milan.
There is nothing much known about the childhood of da Vinci besides the fact that he was born in 1452 to a well-known notary in a little town named Vinci, near Tuscany (the surname literally mean ‘of Vinci’) and a peasant named Caterina. His mother is said to have died after a few years after which he moved to his father’s house.
2. He was never formally educated.
He was never sent to school to acquire a formal education of that time. However, it is said that he was homeschooled in languages and mathematics and when he was 16 years old, he was sent to Milan to squire for Verrocchio, a great painter.
3. He was known to leave his work off midway and most of his works are still unfinished and only 15 of his paintings are exhibited.
He was rumoured to have had a very fickle mind and often left his paintings unfinished some of which are still exhibited in the Louvre and the Uffizi Museums.
4. His master dropped the idea of ever painting again because of da Vinci’s sheer talent while collaborating with the teenage genius.
As da Vinci started taking an interest in painting with his master, the breakthrough took place when he collaborated with him for the painting of Baptism of Christ. It is said that Andrea Del Verrocchio was so impressed that he vowed that he would never paint again.
5. He loved animals too much and the famous painter was a strict vegetarian.
He loved animals so much so that it is said that he would buy caged animals and then set them free! Out of the same love, he was known to be an austere vegetarian.
6. He never published his journals.
He was more of a scribbler. His best inventions and a grocery list would be the part of the same journal and it’s safe to say that he kept these journals for his own amusement with no intention of publishing them for the world.
7. Da Vinci was an accomplished lyre player.
Not too well known but it’s true that music was also one of his talents. He is known to have given himself for service of the Duke of Milan during which he prepared a never before, exquisite lyre made out an alloy of silver and played it for his highness’ entertainment.
8. As a youth, he was arrested in a case of sodomy.
It is said that as a young man he was arrested for an act of sodomy along with a few male friends of him, probably his muses. Since no witness came around, the charges were dropped. He was known to be a very private man and he left the town after this incident. However, speculations are rampant about his sexuality as his most famously intimate relationships have been with men.
9. He was the first one to explain why the sky looks blue.
His journals are filled with such observations on nature as he is said to have loved being in the vicinity of nature. He speculated quite aptly that the blue of the sky is because of the way air particles scatter the light rays.
10. He conceptualized transportable bridges, which unfortunately could never be a physical reality.
One of his crazy ideas was the transportable bridge that could be used to cross a tiny river or a large drain.
11. He was ambidextrous but preferred to use his left hand when it came to working and other things.
He was preferably a left-handed man but has been known to have used both his hands for working on his sculptures or paintings and writing at the same time. Also, his journals are filled with mirrored handwriting which speculatively makes sense that it might’ve been easier for him to write like that as a left handed person. A lot of people say though that he wrote that way to keep his inventions secret.
12. He thought of bicycles 300 years before they became a reality.
He is known to have prepared a sample idea of a cycle for left handed people way before real cycles actually came into being. He also conceptualised the possibility of contact lenses which is a reality now.
13. He noticed that Earth could be much older what the Bible professed at the time.
He is known to be a part of a secret society in which his role has been widely discussed due to Dan Brown’s book The Da Vinci Code. He is fondly called theRenaissance Man and has been known to have debunked a lot of disbeliefs that were prevalent at that time.
14. He designed an armored car, flying ships and military tanks.
Just regular scribblings and ideas for him, but a revelation for us. His journals are filled with designs for out of this world machines including the famed Cryptex none of which are known to have existed in physical reality.
15. He was notorious for being a prankster and most of his journals are filled with cheap jokes he himself wrote.
To top all of his brilliance, da Vinci is known to have been a man with a funny bone with a sense of humor way beyond his time. His writings are known to be filled with jokes with penis themes and God knows what.