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Book Title: The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci - Complete|
The author of the book: Leonardo da Vinci
Date of issue: August 9th 2012
ISBN 13: 9781153715119
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 25.51 MB
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Excerpt: ...Vasari gives as to the architectural studies of Leonardo, we read: "And among these models and designs there was one by way of which he showed several times to many ingenious citizens who then governed Florence, his readiness to lift up without ruining it, the church of San Giovanni in Florence (the Battistero, opposite the Duomo) in order to place under it the missing basement with steps; he supported his assertions with reasons so persuasive, that while he spoke the undertaking seemed feasable, although every one of his hearers, when he had departed, could see by himself the impossibility of so vast an undertaking." Footnote: This latter statement of Vasari's must be considered to be exaggerated. I may refer here to some data given by LIBRI, Histoire des sciences mathematiques en Italie (II, 216, 217): "On a cru dans ces derniers temps faire un miracle en mecanique en effectuant ce transport, et cependant des l'annee 1455, Gaspard Nadi et Aristote de Fioravantio avaient transporte, a une distance considerable, la tour de la Magione de Bologne, avec ses fondements, qui avait presque quatre-vingts pieds de haut. Le continuateur de la chronique de Pugliola dit que le trajet fut de 35 pieds et que durant le transport auquel le chroniqueur affirme avoir assiste, il arriva un accident grave qui fit pencher de trois pieds la tour pendant qu'elle etait suspendue, mais que cet accident fut promptement repare (Muratori, Scriptores rer. ital. Tom. XVIII, col. 717, 718). Alidosi a rapporte une note ou Nadi rend compte de ce transport avec une rare simplicite. D'apres cette note, on voit que les operations de ce genre n'etaient pas nouvelles. Celle-ci ne couta que 150 livres (monnaie d'alors) y compris le cadeau que le Legat fit aux deux mecaniciens. Dans la meme annee, Aristote redressa le clocher de Cento, qui penchait de plus de cinq pieds (Alidosi, instruttione p. 188- Muratori, Scriptores rer. ital., tom. XXIII, col. 888.-Bossii, chronica Mediol., ...
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Read information about the authorIt was on April 15, 1452, that Leonardo was born in the town of Vinci, Republic of Florence, in what is now in Italy, the illegitimate son of a notary and a barmaid. It is from his birthplace that he is known as Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo seemed to master every subject to which he turned his attention: he was a painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer, wrote poetry and stories: the prototype Renaissance man!
His Last Supper (1495-97) and Mona Lisa (La Gioconda, 1503-06) are among the most popular paintings from the Renaissance. He and his rival Michelangelo did great service to the medical arts by accurate paintings of dissections, which were only occasionally allowed by the Church. Yet, his artistry appeared to be an afterthought, as he frequently left his works unfinished, and only about fifteen of his paintings survive. His notebooks reveal that he was centuries ahead of his time in mechanics and physic, fortifications, bridges, weapons, and river diversions to flood the enemy, which aided Italian city-states in their many wars.
Leonardo was an early evolutionist regarding fossils. Through his careful observations he noted that “if the shells had been carried by the muddy deluge they would have been mixed up, and separated from each other amidst the mud, and not in regular steps and layers — as we see them now in our time.” Leonardo reasoned that what is now dry land, where these aquatic fossils were found, must once have been covered by seawater.
He was for a short time accused of homosexuality: there is no evidence Leonardo had any sexual interest in women. As he wrote in his notebooks, “The act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions.”
And what of his religion? It is significant that at the end of his life he felt he had much spiritual negligence to atone for. His first biographer, Giorgio Vasari, wrote in 1550:
"Finally, …feeling himself near to death, [he] asked to have himself diligently informed of the teaching of the Catholic faith, and of the good way and holy Christian religion; and then, with many moans, he confessed and was penitent; and … was pleased to take devoutly the most holy Sacrament, out of his bed. The King, who was wont often and lovingly to visit him, then came into the room; wherefore he, out of reverence … showed withal how much he had offended God and mankind in not having worked at his art as he should have done."
There was much skepticism in Renaissance Italy at the time, and Leonardo was an intellectual genius, not just an artistic genius. While there was great intellectual freedom during the Italian Renaissance, there were limits as long as the Dominicans, the “Hounds of the Lord,” were active. This semblance of a deathbed conversion, by so critical a thinker and so great a genius as Leonardo, who would have nothing to lose by professing piety all his life, can only mean that during his prime years he was a secret freethinker.
Leonardo died quietly on the 2 of May, 1519, a few weeks following his 67th birthday.
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