Leonardo Da Vinci is a widely known figure for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s his famed skill as a painter, his revolutionary sketches of flying machinery, or an alleged hidden code that spawned a couple of books and movie adaptations, the Italian polymath is a cultural icon. He was a multifaceted proper genius, with knowledge in a great number of fields that included invention, painting, architecture, sculpting, science, music, mathematics, and many others.
We owe to him the existence of Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, arguably the two most know paintings in the world, and the existence of the gorgeous Dome of Milan. For his contribution in the domains of architecture and invention, he was considered to be a revolutionary architect that inspired many generations to come. To honor this titanic personality, here are the Top 10 Most Awesome Leonardo Da Vinci Facts.
#1 It seems that he was an illegitimate child. Born near the Italian region that is today known as Tuscany, Da Vinci’s father was an accountant by the name Messer Piero Fruosino. His mother, Caterina, was believed for the longest time to have been a peasant. Recent studies surfaced the possibility that she actually used to be a slave. Regardless, one thing is clear – his parents never married, Da Vinci living with his mother until he was five years old. After that, he moved in with his father and new wife and Da Vinci’s personal journal shows that he was very close to him.
#2 Many Renaissance artists received proper schooling for their talents, but this wasn’t Da Vinci’s case. Some entries in his journal have pointed towards a particular interest he had taken during his childhood to exploring the outdoors. More specifically, he found the movements of water and the actions of birds of prey very fascinating. He started polishing his skill as a painter when he was a teenager, traveling to Florence to serve as an apprentice under Andrea del Verrocchio. Rumor has it that, after seeing one of Da Vinci’s paintings, Verrocchio was so awed that he swore to never pick up the brush again.
#3 Da Vinci seems to have invented procrastination. He’s a famously slow worker, known for getting easily distracted and definitely taking his time with his paintings and inventions. Some of his unfinished paintings are housed in different museums around the world, including the Louvre, which already fosters the Mona Lisa. One of the most intriguing unfinished works of the artist is the so-called The Adoration of Magi, a painting that allegedly depicts the young artist himself.
#4 With fame also come enemies. When he was 24 years old, Da Vinci was jailed along with several other men with charges of sodomy. This was a terrible blow to someone who preferred to keep his life as private as possible and sodomy, especially, was a deed punishable by death. The charges were, fortunately, dropped when no witness stepped forward to testimony against them.
#5 Speaking of Da Vinci’s inventiveness, he had a side that was very keen on the military. After he traded Florence for Milan, the artist decided to start anew by offering his services to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. Meant to design his most ambitious project yet, a bronze horse statue, his plans fell short when France invaded Italy in the 15th century. Instead of focusing on the sculpture of a horse, he offered to build a variety of military designs. Sketches found by historians reveal Da Vinci’s plans for smoke machines, canons, portable bridges, and even armored vehicles. However, given Da Vinci’s previously mentioned slowness, these constructions remain unfinished, with there not being any actual proof that they ever became a reality.
#6 It was already established that Leonardo Da Vinci was a man of many talents, but there are some particular ones that, although less flashy, are definitely pretty impressive. The artist was ambidextrous and dyslexic, a combination which resulted in his ability to draw with one hand while writing with the other. If that doesn’t sound interesting, then keep in mind that he was writing backward. This is a skill possessed by very few men and Da Vinci chose to willingly use it as a way to make his writing more difficult to decipher.
#7 Da Vinci wasn’t necessarily a believer of the Bible’s tales, often going out of his way to disprove the various things written in its pages. For example, his previously mentioned childhood passion of water movement led him to analyze river erosion. Through this research, he concluded that the Earth was a lot older than the point of genesis described in the Holy Book. Moreover, he even stated that the fossils scattered around mountains, which many believed to be the remains of Noah’s Ark, are only the results of dropping sea levels.
#8 As an inventor, Da Vinci was definitely a genius. His ideas and designs were way ahead of his time period, historians managing to have found sketches that depict helicopters, calculators, solar powered devices, armored cars, and flying ships. In fact, Da Vinci invented the parachute! His design was the first one to actually be usable and became the foundation for many other to come.
#9 Leonardo Da Vinci would often look up to the sky and theorize some abstract notions. He was one of the first people to explain why the sky is blue, explaining how the sunlight behaves in Earth’s atmosphere. He also explained that the reason why the Moon is visible at night is because of the light reflected from Earth.
#10 Last but not least, how do we know all of these things? It’s actually thanks to Leonardo Da Vinci himself, who was basically the period’s equivalent of a daily blogger. Only instead of expressing himself through a keyboard, he laid down all of his thoughts on paper. Plenty of journals, books, papers, and sketches have been found. More specifically, if you ever wished to sit down and browse through Da Vinci’s entire biography and deepest thoughts, you’d have to get through a grand total of 13,000 pages.
If there is anything to be learned from these Top 10 Most Awesome Leonardo Da Vinci Facts, it’s that he was apparently unfairly good at everything. Good for you, mister Da Vinci.