Leonardo Da Vinci: A Successful Inventor Or A Successful Artist

The opinion that Leonardo da Vinci was a more successful inventor than he was a successful artist has been thoroughly debated. The reason for this is that there are many reasons for and against this argument. However, many have a different view entirely, that he was equally triumphant in all of his occupations. Contrasting this, others believe that he was fortuitous in neither, using the cynical view that most of his inventions were never tested during his lifetime and half of his paintings still remain unfinished for various reasons or because Leonardo da Vinci technically is unable to be considered an ‘artist’ in the modern sense of the word in the way that we use the term nowadays.

How was Leonardo da Vinci a more acknowledged inventor? For a start, many (if not all) of the things he invented have definitely played quite a large part in the production of multiple kinds of equipment today. For example, even though da Vinci never ended up building and therefore testing his parachute idea it is considered similar or practically identical to the first practical parachute designed by Sebastien Lenormand in 1783. His first idea of it was fabricated a few hundred years earlier than when it was revealed by Lenormand in 1783. In fact, when a prototype was built and tested by daredevil Adrian Nichols in the year 2000, it was proven that da Vinci’s design worked brilliantly and according to Nichols, it was better than the modern parachute as it had a much smoother ride. This is similar to the Helical Air Screw. Da Vinci designed a device similar to today's helicopters, thousands of years before the first helicopter was built and tested. Some of da Vinci’s most well-known works include but are not limited to; the flying machine, the diving equipment, the self-propelled cart, the anemometer, the automatic weapon (33 barreled cannon), the helicopter, the robotic knight, and the parachute. This illustrates how his work can be recognised today, even if it is only through inspiration. The most useful of these inventions would have to be the scuba gear. Da Vinci noted the first idea of air tanks in Italy in his Atlantic Codex where he mentioned how the systems were used during that time period to breathe underwater artificially. He also included multiple drawings of snorkels, air tanks, masks, boxes for air and plunger suits. Leonardo was not a lucrative inventor in the way that many people used his inventions at the time, but it is made up for in the fact that he is more successful in inspiring the design of different equipment nowadays than during the time he was alive.

What made Leonardo da Vinci such a great artist is what also made him such a great inventor - his fascination with the world around him. Unfortunately, there are fewer than twenty surviving paintings from his time period and several of those were sadly left unfinished. Da Vinci also had many other successful pieces of artwork, straying from traditional painting into also sculpting, however, he was always experimenting with different paints and materials and this was why some of his lesser-known works remained unfinished. For example, in 1503 he was commissioned to paint a mural for the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Da Vinci worked on this piece for three years but ultimately end up leaving it unfinished. On the other hand, during that same time period, he painted the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa, also known as the Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, is an oil painting created by da Vinci sometime between 1503 and 1519 and is probably one of the world’s most famous paintings, if not the most famous. The success of the Mona Lisa has clearly also contributed to Leonardo da Vinci’s success as an artist as over six million people visit the painting each year at the Louvre where it is currently on display. In my opinion, that is more than quite an achievement! Despite the fact that multiple pieces of his artworks have been left unfinished, da Vinci is still a very successful artist and excelled in his field of work.

It is clear that Leonardo da Vinci was a very successful inventor and artist, but he was also an architect, polymath, anatomist, astronomer, biologist, cartographer, military engineer, geologist, historian, mathematician, musician, scientist and writer. Evidence shows that he was successful in each area of expertise. Bridging the gap between these ideas, studies show that he was prosperous in each area because of his success in the other areas. He had the potential to be a brilliant architect because of his artistic talent. This is the same with the link between him being a scientist, anatomist and biologist. He was also a great inventor because he was so good at illustrating his ideas using his skills as an artist. Da Vinci also used his studies as a scientist to draw another of his famous sketches, “Vitruvian Man” as the sketch was so accurate. This piece of artwork owes its accuracy to da Vinci spending a lot of his time experimenting with the idea of proportion to create something defined as partly a piece of art and partly a mathematical diagram. This sketch has been deemed one of the most important works of the Italian Renaissance. Some have the view, using this logic that Leonardo da Vinci was equally outstanding in all of his fields of expertise.

To sum up everything that has been stated, there have been and continue to be contrasting views regarding the success of Leonardo da Vinci’s various occupations. It is believed by some that he should be classified as a more notable inventor, due to the fact that his inventions or sketches of inventions have inspired or contributed to the design of multiple different modern day ideas. In spite of this, some have the opinion that he was a more successful artist, as people pay lots of money to possess or see his remaining works, for example, the Mona Lisa or The Last Supper. In comparison to this, there are also people who judge da Vinci as being just as successful in each of his pursuits. I believe that that is true, as he is well-known for all of his occupations and has contributed to society in multiple aspects of them. In my personal opinion, I think that Leonardo da Vinci was a successful inventor as well as a successful artist as there cannot be a way to truly measure how many people he reached with each invention or piece of artwork. Although, If I had to choose then by looking at the current evidence I would say that even though his works of art are well-known and priceless, I believe that he was a more successful inventor than he was a successful artist as his inventions have inspired or helped to improve many different modern day ideas and some have even been considered better than the modern day equivalent.

10 October 2020
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