"The most heavenly gifts seem to be showered on certain human beings. Sometimes supernaturally, marvelously, they all congregate in one individual. . . . This was seen and acknowledged by all men in the case of Leonardo da Vinci, who had. . . an indescribable grace in every effortless act and deed. His talent was so rare that he mastered any subject to which he turned his attention. . . . He might have been a scientist if he had not been so versatile." (Giorgio Vasari)
Leonardo was best known as an artist, the creator of such masterpieces as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, but he was also the most brilliant scientific mind of his time. Thousands of pages of his hand written manuscripts survive although they are difficult to read: the artist used peculiar abbreviations, he wrote in mirror-image script from right to left and his notes are not arranged in any logical order. Art historians still have not reached a consensus whether the artistic and scientific sides of his activity should be viewed as two separate things or an inseparable whole. All agree though that he was the archetype of the Renaissance man.
Leonardo studied the human body:
He was interested in flying:
He designed a tank:
and a diving suit:
His lasting fame and influence rest equally upon his artistic activity and studies in almost all areas of knowledge.