Leonardo Da Vinci

Da Vinci’s Note Pad

This is cool – apparently Leonardo Da Vinci was a notepad kind of guy – and he’d jot down just about anything, and because the dude was a polymath these pages were quite sensational… here’s an English rendering of one of the pages from his random jottings.

Via npr.

Supersizing the Last Supper

You know that famous painting – the one the Da Vinci code is all about… well, there have actually been a bunch of “last supper” paintings over the years – and it seems Jesus and the 12 (or 11 depending on what time of the evening the painting captures) are eating a little bit more each time.

That’s the subject of a new study of 52 of the paintings, conducted by a pair of American brothers.

Using computer-aided design technology, the pair scanned the main dish, bread and plates and calculated the size of portion relative to the size of the average head in the painting.

Over a thousand years, the size of the main dish progressively grew by 69.2%, plate size by 65.6%and bread size by 23.1%, they found.

The study, published in Britain’s International Journal of Obesity, is co-authored by Mr. Wansink’s brother, Craig, a professor of religious studies at Virginia Wesleyan College in Norfolk, Virginia, and an ordained Presbyterian minister.

How to promote yourself like Leonardo Da Vinci

I don’t think there’s a figure in history with talents as diverse as Leonardo Da Vinci’s. He was cool. A true renaissance man. If you require proof of this coolness – you need look no further than the fact that he has been featured in popular cultural texts as diverse as Ever After (the Cindarella Story) and Assassins Creed 2. Because his coolness is transcendent.

He was, it appears, an incredible self promoter. Here is a letter he sent to the Duke of Milan when he was thirty years old.

There are eleven points. You can read them all here. But my favourites are:

Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvellous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.

He was, it seems, a ninja.

I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.

A ninja who made tanks.

I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.

It’s funny that Einstein is remembered for his contribution to weaponry though he set out to be a scientist – and Leonardo is remembered for his contribution to art though he set out to be a weapons developer.

Item number 11 on the list says:

I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.

The promises even come with a satisfaction guarantee and demonstration…

“And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.”

Clearly, in hindsight, he was both competent and capable. Which is probably the key to being successful. If you’re justone of these things without the other you’re doomed for failure.

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