Friday, April 15, 2005

LEONARDO DA VINCI, MULTIDIMENSIONAL THINKER




In addition to being just about the smartest person ever, Leonardo is reported to have been a strikingly handsome man with great strength and a fine singing voice. And unlike his fellow 15th-century Italians, he was a vegetarian and followed strict dietary rules. In fact, he loved animals so much that he would often buy caged animals at the market just to set them free.

Legend has it that young Leonardo was asked by his father to paint a round shield. Like many teenagers, he thought it would be cool to paint a really creepy head, so he brought in all sorts of vermin -- lizards, bats, maggots, etc. -- and painted a disgusting monster exhaling smoke and poison gas. He was so engrossed in his painting that he failed to notice that his animal specimens had begun to rot, and when he finally allowed his father to see it the man was so startled by its realism that he knew his son could only be an artist.


In an era when left-handedness was considered the devil's work and lefties were often forced to use their right hand, Leonardo was an unrepentant southpaw. It has been suggested that this "difference" was an element of his genius, since his detachment allowed him to see beyond the ordinary. He even wrote backwards, and his writings are easily deciphered only with a mirror.

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