One of the greatest artists to have lived. One of the greatest inventors to create. Leonardo da Vinci could well be considered the Man’s man, the Renaissance Man, the one who could make everything you thought was impossible, possible. Although his likeness won’t be displayed in the halls of Athens, he is iconic when one considers his accomplishments. D’Vinci created the prototype for the car and helicopter; he was a sculptor, musician, painter, poet, writer, scientist, engineer, mathematician, geologist, botanist, biologist, cartographer, and author. Even more impressive is that he did this all without modern day amenities such as the Web and of course Google.
In essence, he was the definition of perseverance, determination and ultimately the quintessential example of a man who defined the term “limitless.” Here’s a few things Leonardo did that we could all learn from…
ALIGN YOURSELF WITH THE RULING ELITE Born a bastard child of a poor farmer, Leonardo had no silver spoon. Yet rather than stick a flag on the grounds he was born, he took flight and chose to align himself with the movers and shakers of that time. So how did he do it? During his teens, he traveled to Florence where he befriended the biggest influencers in town and took an apprenticeship with the renowned studio of Andrea del Vercocchi. Soon thereafter, he out shined his mentor and by the age of 20 was accepted into the esteemed Painter’s Guild of Florence. In an instant, it added to his credibility while giving him an opportunity to align himself with some of the wealthiest and most influential folks in town.
ART IS NEVER FINISHED, ONLY ABANDONED Da Vinci was once quoted as saying, “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” It’s a quote which resonates all throughout the world and it’s still relevant centuries later. For any artist, art defines their existence and in keeping true to code it’s a passion we should pursue, refine and reinvent each time we create a new piece. Long story short, progress cannot be made if we don’t fight for it. His quote is also testament to the fact that perfectionists never really finish their projects because they always see room for improvement.
REPETITION IS THE MOTHER OF LEARNING In his memoirs, Da Vinci had said something which makes absolute sense. So what did he say? He said, “The youth should first learn perspective, then the proportions of objects. Then he may copy from some good master, to accustom himself to fine forms. Then from nature, to confirm by practice the rules he has learnt. Then see for a time the works of various masters. Then get the habit of putting his art into practice and work.”
In short, he’s not telling you to be a copy cat, rather, he’s telling artists to continually practice. Within time, enough practice and repetition will make those strokes and fine lines second nature, and in turn it those movements will become an action instead of a thought.