Thoughts About Art On Leonardo’s Birthday

Without a doubt, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the world’s greatest artists and visionaries. He has been the subject of many essays, books, films, and other intellectual studies. What can I say about him that has not been explained by scholars and experts? Nothing, really. I can only offer my deep admiration for his creativity and wisdom. Leonardo’s work extended far beyond our basic concept of art. I believe that da Vinci approached all of his masterworks, inventions, and ponderings in the spirit of art, because all of his surviving artifacts and writings contain the element of elegance.

My paternal grandmother, who was artistically gifted, once said that art is the ability to express what is invisible to others. As a budding adolescent, I believed she was telling me a riddle. My teenaged mind knew grandma J had said something profound but her words didn’t click right away.

Then one day, I read a short quote in the “Reader’s Digest” magazine attributed to Leonardo da Vinci, “There are three classes of people: those who see, those who see when they are shown, those who do not see.” At that instant, I finally understood grandma J’s statement. It was also around that period of time that I became interested in the Italian Renaissance Period. In those days, well before the Internet, I couldn’t get enough information about da Vinci, Michelangelo, Donatello, and other exceptionally talented artists who are highly esteemed in our global society.

I share the opinion of many others that da Vinci was probably the single most diversely talented human being to have ever walked upon the Earth. Nobody else manifested the Renaissance humanist mindset to the extent that da Vinci naturally did. When we envision the ideal “Renaissance Man”, we imagine someone who is endlessly curious about the Universe; someone who ceaselessly investigates the mysteries; and someone who possesses boundless imagination.

The levels of da Vinci’s logic, reasoning, and analytical investigation were without equal for his times. The depth and scope of his intellectual and artistic capabilities seem superhuman and mysterious. Scholars have pointed out that da Vinci’s world vision only seem mysterious to most of us because his use of logic and empirical reasoning was far and away unusual for people alive during the 15th and 16th centuries. Indeed, his visionary abilities and skills remain peerless in today’s society.


The Blue Jay of Happiness quotes activist, columnist, novelist, playwright, and poet, Langston Hughes. “An artist must be free to choose what he does, certainly, but he must also never be afraid to do what he might choose.”

About swabby429

An eclectic guy who likes to observe the world around him and comment about those observations.
This entry was posted in art, Contemplation, cultural highlights, History and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

10 Responses to Thoughts About Art On Leonardo’s Birthday

  1. Kajal says:

    I totally resonate with you here. Art is such a vast concept and totally subjective. To be born in this age, where we can witness such rich artistic expressions- by reading or actually visiting these masterpieces, is a blessing. Leonardo da Vinci, in my artistic heart, is the greatest of all and I always enjoy knowing or reading about the artist.

  2. Have you been to Florence, where he lived for a number of years? I was there for a few days, and would love to go back. So many intelligent and creative people lived there in past centuries. It’s an inspiring city.

    • swabby429 says:

      I visited the city way back in my college days. The richness of the culture was overwhelming and I took in as much as a college student could afford. I really should visit Italy again.

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  4. I share your admiration for da Vinci, although I know little about him other than his famous works. He was so far ahead of his contemporaries, I wonder if was lonely.

    • swabby429 says:

      I’ve wondered about this aspect, too. I’ve reached the opinion that he may have felt alienated from society at large and he was content with solitude. Leonardo’s personality and psychological make-up was certainly extraordinary. I think he channeled his emotions into his studies and works. Again, just my armchair opinion.

  5. tiostib says:

    da Vinci was certainly an extraordinary mind, he would be at the top of my list of people I would go back in time to visit if that wish were possible.

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