My friend, another great polymath, Andrew Plumb reminded me that today is Leonardo Da Vinci’s birthday – the epitomy of Renaissance man, whose works inspire all my passions. He was interested in everything: painting, sculpture, music, anatomy, mechanics, optics, architecture, geology, hydraulics, without attributing a real priority to any of these subjects.
He was also a man of multiple personalities (something I get accused of often). Either you are deeply touched watching him beautifully assisting a dying man and, just a few seconds after the death, you become disappointed seeing him calmly dissecting the still warm body. You can watch Leonardo wandering in the countryside, lovingly observing birds and their flight, flowers and their structure, the lives of insects and their anatomy, and the flow of moving water, and then return to his lab to design powerful weapons and war machines.
I sometimes hear debates on whether Leonardo was more of a scientist, an artist, or a technologist and am often frustrated by today’s anachronistic methods of cleaving such polymath into primitive parts. By seeing this world as a whole, and by striving to unify it through all the disciplines, essentially means that he pursued five hundred years ago what every person should today: integral, holistic perspective of the ever changing world we continuously observe and remake.