Leonardo was a consummate scientist. “Experience does not ever err,” he said, “it is only your judgment that errs in promising itself results which are not caused by your experiments.” If only he had made his work public instead of keeping it private. His studies of anatomy were decades, even centuries ahead of his time, yet he published almost nothing. Yet his paintings show his mastery of every muscle and sinew in the human body.
His studies of curves, including the helical curves of screws, the curls of hair, were all part of his plan to write treatises on anatomy, mechanics and architecture, along with painting. Alas, his cryptic use of notes and inability to finish things left us with 5,000 scattered pages of notes and drawings, presaging much of anatomy, botany and mechanics.
This conversation was part of The Soul of Leonardo da Vinci: A symposium in celebration of the quincentenary of Leonardo’s death
, with Hanna Arie-Gaifman, Jonathan Berger, Howard Morgan, Michael Kubovy, Israel Nelken, Barbara Tversky, Timothy Weaver, and Robert Zwijnenberg. Co-Produced by the 92nd Street Y and Stanford University’s Symposium on Music and the Brain.
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