How to think like Leonardo da Vinci? Have you heard of Leonardo da Vinci? Who were they? He was a genius and a great artist. He made many fine paintings. The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper came to be called masterpieces.
Leonardo da Vinci was not only a fine artist. But along with this, he had good knowledge about many different fields. Like botany, anatomy, military engineering, etc. For this deep knowledge of his. He is called a renaissance polymath i.e. a man who has mastery and expertise in many fields at the same time. He has a very deep knowledge of almost every field.
Many of Leonardo’s paintings were given the title of masterpieces. St. John the Baptist, Madonna of the Rocks, and Salvator Mundi are the name of some of his masterpieces. Leonardo Da Vinci’s work received a lot of awards and applause. But he and his work always remained controversial.
He draws many sketches in their notebook. He has made such an accurate and lively picture of horses, faces, flowers, and even the child in the mother’s womb. If you look at it, it seems as if this picture will speak now. Which is as precious as his picture or masterpieces.
Leonardo da Vinci was such a genius that he thought far ahead of time. He lived in and he went ahead of his time to invent many things.
Such as parachutes, helicopters, and machine guns. He also made sketches of these great inventions in their notebooks.
His father was a budding lawyer and his mother was a simple girl working in the fields in a small village. Leonardo Da Vinci did not follow in his father’s profession as his child.
Because he was born without marriage. This means he was an illegitimate child. That’s why he was not allowed to pursue a professional career. In this way, Leonardo da Vinci craved his path. And became one of the world’s great artists and thinkers. In this book, you will learn about 6 such principles of Leonardo. Which change his life. And help him to carve his path.
That will help you develop your brain and change your attitude like Leonardo da Vinci.
In this book, You will learn to be a person who does not limit his knowledge to one field. And always wants to know and learn more.
Leonardo was Italian, so Michael, the author of the book ( how to think like Leonardo da Vinci), explained these six principles in the Italian language to feel it real.
Leonardo’s six principles according to the book how to think like Leonardo da Vinci are –
Curiosita, which means desire to know.
Dimostrazione, which means learning from experience.
Sensazione, which means maximizing the use of one’s five senses
Sfumato, which means not judging anything immediately.
Arte / Scienza, which means to strike a balance between art and logic, and Corporality, which means physical fitness. So let us understand them one by one in detail.
About the Author
Michael Gelb author of how to think like Leonardo da Vinci. He is an Executive Coach and Management Consultant. They organize different seminars and classes to teach organizations and people about creativity, leadership, and innovation. Michael has also written 17 non-fiction books. His book How to think like Leonardo da Vinci is best seller books
The 6 principles of Leonardo da Vinci. According to the book ( how to think like Leonardo da Vinci)
1. Sfumato ( Not judge anything immediately )
The word Sfumato means, to rise like smoke and Fog or to become cloudy. Where nothing is visible. We get a glimpse of this in Leonardo’s painting style. If you deeply see the painting of the Mona Lisa. Then you will see that the painting is very mysterious.
No one has been able to know the secret behind the Mona Lisa’s smile. There are so many emotions hidden in her smile. So you can not identify the actual emotion behind his smile.
It is designed in such a way. That you will not be able to understand the hidden message in it at once. So, good and evil, seduction and innocence, kindness and cruelty are all visible in her smile.
What do you think Leonardo wanted to express with this? The very interesting thing about this painting is that. If you look closely, you can see. That the corner of the Mona Lisa’s mouth and eyes are covered in a light shadow. This is what makes that smile mysterious. And the wrinkle of her eyes and the edge of her lips could tell us. What she was feeling in that painting.
But Leonardo da Vinci planned to leave the mystery to those. Who saw the painting? This is the first principle of Leonardo da Vinci. We should not judge anything immediately or jump to any conclusion.
There can be many different aspects of the same thing. So it’s better to understand all the aspects and then draw a conclusion. Try looking at the situation from a slightly different angle or all possible angles. To explore new things. So, it helps you to understand the difference between truth and false. And increases your reasoning power and intelligence.
Perhaps this is what helped Leonardo da Vinci to think beyond his time and do so many inventions. Remember one thing intellectual people never reach any conclusion immediately. They try to understand it from different angles and then reach the conclusion.
For years, art experts and psychologists have asked the question, “Who was the model of this
painting? Was she a girl or just an imagination?”
But to date, no one has been able to give an exact answer. Someone said that she was Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of a silk merchant named Francesco del Giocondo.
Someone said that the Mona Lisa was a reflection of all the women Leonardo had seen in his life. such as his mother, the girlfriend of Nobel, or the common woman walking on the road.
But Bell Labs’ Dr. Lillian Schwartz had a different and very interesting opinion. He believed that the Mona Lisa could have been a portrait of Leonardo himself, a self-portrait.
But some say that Leonardo had only one self-portrait. Which he made with red chalk. His long wavy hair, thick eyebrows, and the wrinkles around his eyes that come with age were visible in that painting.
Dr. Schwartz used computer modelling with precise measurements to make a painting of the Mona Lisa and that self-portrait look side by side.
If you look closely at the picture of the Mona Lisa and Leonardo da Vinci. You will see that the Mona Lisa and Leonardo’s faces will be matching. Both foreheads, eyes, nose, and lips were in the same line in both pictures.
The Catholic Church did not like Leonardo much like Michelangelo and Bernini. Because Leonardo used to extract the meaning of the scene shown in the Bible from his point of view. Which is sometimes different from the catholic church’s point of view.
It is said that Madonna of the Rocks and Virgin and Child with St John the Baptist. There are two different interpretations of the painting.
One is very shocking and the other is very gentle. Painters like Leonardo da Vinci do nothing unintentionally or by chance.
There was a solid reason behind everything. Which was often unnoticed by the common man’s eyes. Because of the different thinking of Leonardo da Vinci
In his painting, the gestures of people’s faces, body positions, and hand gestures were all exactly as they wanted to show them. And whether you believe it or not, there must be some message hidden in their painting.
Maybe we’ll never know whether Leonardo intended to tell us from his masterpieces. What John the Baptist wanted to tell us. It all in depends on our minds. And how we understand the beauty and mystery of his masterpieces.
Curiosity (Desire to know)
From childhood, Leonardo had a desire to know about the world around him. Often he used to go for a walk in the forests with paper and pencil.
Whatever attracted his attention, he sat down to sketch it. He would stare at trees, flowers, and leaves for hours.
He used to write down every thought in a notebook. Many questions used to come to his mind like “How many types of animals, flowers and rivers are there in this world?
“How do these birds fly? Where a stone strikes the water, what starts to form like a roundabout? Don’t know why these strange questions keep occupying my mind all the time.”
When Leonardo drew a picture of a flower. He would make it from three different angles. He would be mesmerized by its beauty and texture.
And he also found the flying of birds very interesting. How a bird flaps its wings in the air, they used to capture it in the picture too.
There was another special thing about Leonardo that made him different from other artists.
He was not much interested in bringing the beauty of women into the picture.
He used to work for everyone whether it was a church or any other. His art was dedicated to nature, beauty, and truth. He also wrote his advice in his painting.
It is the nature of a person that. He easily finds mistakes in the work of others. So to see what we need to improve in our work. We should study its reflection through a mirror. And this way you will be able to judge him from a different point of view. Leonardo believed that while working, small breaks should also be taken in between. An artist should also go out for a while and take a rest.
Being away from our work for a while helps us to look at it with a fresh perspective. And makes it easier for us to do the remaining work.
He talked about another technique. Which was to see the painting from a distance. He said that when you look at a painting from a distance. You can understand its colours, and its shape better.
Leonardo often went out on the streets of Florence. To observe the beauty of nature and the expressions on people’s faces. Sometimes he would see people. Who used to capture birds in cages and sell them. Leonardo used to buy them, open the cage door and set the birds free. And he used to watch her flying freely in the blue sky with great love and amazement.
It was a pleasure to see the birds flying in the light wind. With their wings flapping between the rays of the sun. This principle teaches us to always keep the desire to know alive. The desire to know creates questions in our minds. That we should try to find young.
It makes our brain sharp. And we learn to notice the details. It is said that no one can teach us as much as nature can teach. So Leonardo used to watch everything present in nature very carefully.
Dimostrazione (Learning from experience)
As a child, Leonardo never got a chance to read and write properly. When he grew up, he became a disciple of the master painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrochio. In his studio, Leonardo learned how to mix colours and create canvases. Verrochio believed in learning from experience. He taught Leonardo the work of bronze casting, the art of sculpture, and so on. He also taught Leonardo to study the structure of the body of plants, humans, and animals.
This education helped him a lot. Leonardo’s first painting was Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ. It is said that he made the picture of the angel in the bottom left corner. Art experts once tried to see it carefully through X-ray. He noticed that the strokes made by Verrochio ‘s brush were visible in the x-ray. But Leonardo’s brush strokes were so fine and smooth as butter that the x-ray passed through him. He had filled it with great workmanship. So the x-ray passed through it. It seemed as if he had not made a picture. But had created an angel.
After training, Leonardo became an expert and joined a guild. This was a group of doctors and artists named “St. Luke”. To understand the structure of the body. Leonardo also cut the bodies of about thirty humans and the bodies of countless animals.
He made pictures of parts of his body in his notebook. This is the reason why the sketch of the physical body in his painting was so perfect. Leonardo believed in learning by testing things from practical experience. And he also believed that he should not believe the things he heard, rather he should test himself and increase his independent thinking.
He said that there can be no better teacher than nature. So, look carefully at the things around you, it will teach you a lot. Another interesting thing about Leonardo is that he learned Latin at the age of 42. So, that he could better understand what was written in the classics. He had read many books on medicine, maths, and martial arts.
In one place he wrote “Experiment is never wrong. You fail only when you expect immediate results from your experiments.” Along with this, he also wrote that “Interruptions can’t bend me. Every obstacle is shattered by determination and perseverance.”
Leonardo loved to experiment. Many of them had failed miserably, but failure never stopped him from trying again. Because of this peculiarity, he managed to make countless inventions.
sensazione (maximizing the use of one’s five senses)
Leonardo da Vinci gives great importance to his five sense organs. He believed that we should make maximum use of it. This principle means looking at everything in detail. And boost your brain capability and wisdom.
Using the six senses makes us genius by increasing our focus. So, using the senses more means listening carefully to the sound, taking full taste if you are eating food, and seeing the details of everything through the eyes.
Leonardo da Vinci always used to make the most of his senses. He carefully observes and learns from his surroundings, mountains, waterfalls, and the gestures of animals and people. That’s why he used to wear as nice clothes as he could. And filled his studio with the scent of flowers and perfume.
He used to eat healthy food in low quantities. Which were beautifully decorated on the plate. Do you know that Leonardo was also a musician? He could play many instruments including the veena, and flute. It is said that his voice was also very melodious. When Ludovico Sforza of Milan hired him. Leonardo made a silver harp in the shape of a horse’s head. And presented it to Ludovico Sforza.
Leonardo da Vinci used to say that it is a pity. That most people do not use their senses properly. They used to eat only to fill their stomach but did not taste it. Spoke but without thinking. Listened but felt something used to not.
Let me be honest, when was the last time you looked at the sky and admired the beauty of the moon and stars? When was the last time you eat without rushing your taste buds? We don’t appreciate what we have.
Nature has given you sense organs, try to be more sensitive to them. Today we have become so busy that we are just present. We are not living. So, if you want to feel the true meaning of living. Then use your senses more like Leonardo. And enjoy every moment of life to the fullest.
Arte / Scienza (Art and Science )
Leonardo was left-handed. So it can be said that his right brain was more active. But as you know. He was not only an artist. But he was also a great scientist. So, he also had a very unique way of writing. Because he used to practice mirror writing. That’s why all his notes were made in this format. Some psychologists tried to understand the deeper meaning behind it. Why did Leonardo use to write in reverse?
But then they thought that it must have been more comfortable for him. Because he used to write with his left hand. In 1994 Bill Gates purchased 18 pages of Leonardo’s notebook for $ 30 million. Scientists have proved that. The left part of the brain works with reasoning. And the right part with emotion and creativity.
But Leonardo believed that art and science go hand in hand. They are compatible with each other. That’s why he carefully observed the human body and running water. And flowering plants and using them to express his art.
He used accurate measurements of the outlining in his paintings and sculptures. In this way, Leonardo da Vinci insisted on using the whole brain for thinking. He said that those who give shape to their art without applying science are like sailors. Who goes on a sea expedition without a compass? Such people can never reach their objectives.
He believed in the fact that an artist must study the human structure to bring it to the canvas. Without this understanding, the painter would only be skilled to draw pictures of lifeless people. In which there would be no beauty and life.
Leonardo motivated his students to pay attention to detail and logic. Asked them to openly use their imagination power. His ability to see the whole picture instead of looking at small things. Helped him to create a very accurate picture. Without the help of any current technology.
He used to say “Study the science of art and study the art of science” which means “Understand the science behind art and look at the art behind the science.”
Leonardo is perhaps the only great artist. Who has given us many unique inventions? His sketches and notes are still deemed as helpful today. As they were in his time.
Corporalita (Physical fitness)
In addition to puzzles and jokes in Leonardo’s notebook. You will also find many interesting tips about good health and physical fitness.
He believed that good health gives you a fit mind. Giorgio Vasari wrote about many famous artists. Says to Leonardo that he was very skilled in horse riding.
He also used to do gliding and peddling as exercise. These things made Leonardo’s body very strong, attractive, and fit. Leonardo has also given some health tips in his notebook. They say to stay away from anger and sadness. And Keep your heart happy. Exercise every day, and pay attention to what you are eating. And Chew the food slowly and eat it. Eat food only when you are hungry and eat light food. Take a good night’s sleep and keep your digestive system right.
King Francois of France hired Leonardo as a painter, architect, and engineer. But in reality, he used to discuss matters of wisdom and philosophy with the king in depth.
The king had given him a luxurious bungalow to live in. And he was also given a salary every month. While there, at the age of 67, Leonardo said goodbye to the world. In his last days, Leonardo also wrote about the symptoms of his illness. He left all his belongings to his faithful student Francesco Melzi.
It is said that he had a close friendship with the king and took his last breath in the king’s arms. Some people say that Leonardo was a homosexual. Many people say that he was a free thinker. Whose thinking was different from religion. And nothing is known but there is a truth that no one can change that he was a genius.
He was a great artist who devoted his whole life to art, science, nature, and its beauty. So in this book (How to think like Leonardo da Vinci), you learned about the six principles that will help you attain the full capability of your body and brain like Leonardo.
Curiosita means always having the desire to know and learn. The more questions you ask, the more you will know about the field that will make you a master at it. Maintain a journal or notebook in which you can write down your ideas, thoughts, and what you have learned. It helps you to attain your goals.
Dimostrazione means that anything or theory should not be taken for granted. But it should be tested and experience it yourself by taking action. Nothing can teach you more than experience. So don’t be afraid to make mistakes and look at every failure as an opportunity to learn. Practical experience informs us more effectively.
sensazione means our five senses. Use your sense organs as much as possible. Look at things carefully, and understand their details. Feel what you are seeing, hearing, and touching, and be fully present at that moment. If you are eating something, taste every ingredient of it, if you are touching something, then feel it. It increases your focus.
Sfumato means do not judge anything immediately and do not reach any conclusion. There can be many different aspects of the same thing so try to understand it. So, try to understand the reason behind it. Arte / science means to develop a balance between art and science, to create a balance between logic and imagination.
Don’t limit the capacity of your mind. Try to strike a balance between logic and creativity. Learn to give importance to both. Most of us use either the left brain or the right brain and to be honest, we use a very little part of our brain. But if you want to be a genius then you have to start using both parts.
Corporalita means care of body and mind. Body and mind are connected. so eat healthy food, get enough sleep and exercise. Because the more physically fit and strong we are, the more mentally strong we can become. which will help in increasing our focus and creativity.
How can it be possible for a single person to have so much knowledge of art, engineering, botany, mathematics, and even every field?
You too can achieve this. If you use your every minute productively to keep the desire to learn more and keep the aim of excellence. Then you too can become a genius.
If you learn to apply these 6 principles very well, then your productivity and focus will increase. And who knows that in the coming time you will bring a revolution by inventing something for which you will be called a genius. And books about you will be written.
How to think like Leonardo da Vinci.
Best of luck.