The Western Lines

June 26, 2010

Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By

Today on Discovery Enterprise we present another delightful and informative documentary concerning the enduring legend and quintessential Renaissance man – Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo was a man who came from humble beginnings who sort to remake, and redefine his life. In a very violent world he sort to create beauty and master the forces of nature.

Today’s hour and half documentary “Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By” recreates the world, the historical epoch and political milieu, with all its intrigues and assignations, of Leonardo’s society with magnificent vivacity.

The program covers some of the major events and influences in Da Vinci’s life. This not only served to humanize this great historical figure but also chronicle the formation of a great genius. Da Vinci was 1452, the illegitimate son of a Florentine notary named Ser Piero and Caterina, a poor farmer’s daughter. As the boy grew to manhood a new intellectual endeavor was to take hold, humanism, a study of every aspect of man. Science, philosophy and art would begin to displace the dark ages. His prospects for life where bleak, as a bastard child he would not inherit any financial security, business or even a family name. For most illegitimacy was a dead end, a sentence of poverty. Young Leonardo had something few had, imagination, and that is what made a difference.

Leonardo started life in a world of violence. Men wore armor under their fine clothes. Bodyguards and food tasters surrounded the rich and powerful. For the lower class life was cheap. Leonardo sought to associate with a guild, but his dubious birthright would bar him from that way out. Only his artistic talent could possibly save him. It was here that Da Vinci learned that artist had access to the powerful. The rich and prosperous would commission paintings and statues. A talented man could make a name for himself among the power brokers of the day. He could work on art destined for the leading family of Florence, the Medici.

The show also has an excellent recreation of the Easter Sunday attack on the infamous Medici family in Florence. The young Da Vinci saw warfare first hand resulting in several of his early innovations. The young man became infatuated with the mechanics of war which lead to his designs of what would now be called SUCBA gear and reinforced tanks. While working with the master artist, Andrea del Verrocchio, Leonardo learned the self disciplines that would make him a perfectionist. He also sees that although his master is not high born he is treated with respect among the powerful. At twenty years of age he has finally earned the rights to join a guild but opts to remain with his former master. Although gifted beyond his peers Leonardo had doubts of working on his own. The young man refused to eat meat, he felt that nature was the ultimate in engineering and art and refused to devour any living creature.

Leonardo da Vinci and the Code He Lived By

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