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Light-bulbUncovering the life of a Renaissance master

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by Darrell Mckenzie - Jan 03, 2020 Star_s13 views

Why did you choose to focus your new book on Leonardo da Vinci?
I've always felt that true creativity came from people who could stand at the intersection of the arts and sciences. That was the secret of Steve Jobs' innovation. Leonardo is history's ultimate example, and his drawing of the man in the circle and square (which I think is a self-portrait) is the icon of that. We can learn so much from Leonardo, especially the value of curiosity for its own sake. He wanted to know everything. So he dissected humans, built flying machines and made the world's two most amazing paintings, “The Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper."

What does Leonardo have in common with Steve Jobs?
Steve Jobs knew that beauty mattered. Unlike other tech Innovators, he was passionate about connecting art to his engineering. That's why he admired Leonardo.

How did Leonardo's scientific studies inform his art?
He dissected human faces, drew every muscle and nerve that moved the lip, and then began his sketches for the world's most memorable smile, that of the Mona Lisa. He also showed how light strikes the retina, how details are sharper when you stare at something directly, and he used that knowledge to make Mona Lisa's smile seem to flicker on and off. More broadly, his science helped him see the patterns of natures, such as how water swirls. That made his paintings into works of genius.

What was the weirdest of Leonardo's notebook scribbling that you read?
"Describe the tongue of the woodpecker." Who on earth would wake up one morning and jot that on their to-do list??? How would you even find out? Catch a woodpecker and pry open its beak? Yet there it is, and as you will see in the last two paragraphs of my book, it's actually rather interesting. And it shows Leonardo's pure and passionate and playful curiosity.

What do you think motivated Leonardo?
He wanted to know everything that could possibly be known about our world, including how we fit into it.

Which is your favorite painting by Leonardo and why?
"The Mona Lisa." As the river in the picture flows from the ancient landscapes and seems to unite with the body of Lisa, it is the culmination of his science and his art. I also love a lesser-known work: "Lady with an Ermine." Both the lady and the ermine have a vivid expression of inner emotion.

What do you think was Leonardo's greatest personal flaw?
He didn't finish many things. Super Mario Bros full version.

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