Enigma

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Mysterious disappearances
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What killed the young pharaoh ?
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The Ghost Ship
Eustache Dauger
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The Assassination of John F Kennedy
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The Sinner Denigrated by the Church
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The Oldest Civilization of Meso America
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Extraterrestrials Live Among Us
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The Engineer of the Future
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He Is Alive !
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A Monument That Defies Time
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500 KM of Geoglyphs
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The Book That Lit The Pyres
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What Has Become Of The Beautiful Queen Of Egypt ?
A Kingdom Without Men
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Who Wrote It ?
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Has He Existed ?
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Serial Killer of the Eighteenth Century ?
Where is the Cemetery ?
A Premonition 14 Years in Advance
Premonitorial Signs Announced His Death ?
Apparitions Or Hallucinations ?
Where Is It ?

Leonardo da Vinci - The Engineer of the Future

Mona Lisa

What did the young Leonardo, that anti-conformist persona known and loved in Italy as a whole, look like, the immense genius that has fascinated the entire world for nearly five centuries? If one refers to the stories of his contemporaries, he looked very beautiful, a well proportioned body, blue eyes, long hair and an angel face. He was also, it seems, very nice and everything that emanated from him made him an extraordinary person. Giorgio Vasari - renowned painter who lived a few years after Leonardo, and author of the first biography of the artists of the Italian Renaissance - wrote that "the beauty of its appearance will never be sufficiently praised". But that’s not all. He also seems particularly adept of physical activities, and of the handling of weapons in particular. In a word, he is the example of the Renaissance artist: a man so to speak perfect, whose only defect seems to have been a certain inconsistency.

Leonardo was born April 15, 1452 in Vinci, a small Tuscan town between Florence and Pistoia. Natural son of a notable of the region, the young Leonardo is well educated in Tuscany which is at the time the center of political, artistic, literary and scientific life. Nobody will understand how to seize and use the teachings of his masters with as much genius as him.

A life of study, experimentation and travel

While it is undeniable that the city of Florence allows in these years many exchanges with neighboring cities, Leonardo seems especially fascinated by nature. The fact that his family owns a mill and land allows him to beat the countryside by multiplying experiences to satisfy his insatiable curiosity. He studies people, animals and plants, natural phenomena and celestial bodies. He observes all this with the greatest attention, then notes his reflections in his notebooks and adds extremely detailed drawings. He will keep this habit all his life. Over time, these notebooks will form the famous Codex, so famous today. Thanks to his studies on plants, he paints landscapes with the mastery of the most expert botanist. His attention to the slightest movement and detail of the animals' bodies allows him to draw strikingly real horses, but also fabulous figures of ermines and dragons.

Seize the secrets of nature

To observe, to study, then to reason to try to seize the secrets of nature, it is about what could be summed up the method of Leonardo da Vinci. He systematically favors experimentation on theoretical culture. He does not like studying "locked in a library" and prefers the concrete aspect of the experience to the abstraction of theories. Later, however, he regretted not having studied Greek and Latin, which were necessary for any scientist of the time.

The desire to fly

The careful observation of birds will be the necessary precondition for his projects of fabulous flying machines. He also devotes himself to aquatic phenomena, vortices and currents, which he compares to those of air in the sky. He seems passionate about what is inaccessible to man: to fly.

After leaving Vinci in 1469, at the age of 17, Leonardo was apprenticed in Florence in one of the most famous art studios in the city: that of Verrocchio. He quickly learns what he likes: painting, playing lyre and singing. However, nothing seems to distract him from observation, drawing, and what he calls "raising the terrain" of things.

In those years, Laurent de Médicis makes Florence culture of the time heart beats. From workshops of the city are born artworks, complex mechanisms intended to animate the big celebrations of the court.

The artist ...

Not only Leonardo da Vinci paints (The Adoration of the Magi, his first important work, will remain unfinished), but he also invents the futuristic pipeline project for the waters of Arno, imagine mills and other constructions. In 1482, Laurent de Medici sent him to Milan at the court of Ludovic le More. Leonard has in his pocket a letter of recommendation which indicates no less than thirty-six different skills. In Milan, he becomes the master builder of sumptuous parties where his complex and marvelous machines make fabulous scenographic and sound effects possible. It is at the Sforza court that he paints some of his masterpieces: The Lady with the Ermine, The Virgin with the Rocks and the Last Supper.

... and the engineer

However, beyond the court's entertainment, Ludovic le More needs his services for military matters. For him, Leonardo designs fortification systems and rotating bridges, but also gigantic crossbows, weapons and war machines that can win a battle by minimizing casualties. His project of mobile bridge allows to attack, but also and especially to provide a retreat, and can be mounted by fitting simple pieces of wood, "without the least tool, no iron or rope". In addition, it is enough to remove only one so that the whole construction collapses, thus cutting the road to the enemy. During these seventeen years at the Sforza court, Léonard devoted himself to engineering by making hydraulic works, fortifications and flying machines, without neglecting the study of anatomy, painting and sculpture, including a monumental equestrian portrait project that will remain unfinished.

A spirit always in motion

In 1499, the French army of Louis XII occupies the Duchy of Milan, Ludovic le More is forced to make Leonardo leave the city. He begins by going to Mantua, with Isabelle d'Este - it is one of the most refined yards of the time - then he goes to Venice where he imagines a city flooding system in case of a Turkish attack. He will even design a scuba model to organize the defense of the city underwater. Then he returns to Florence, the city of his youth. There, he devoted himself to mathematics and geometry, rediscovered his passion for bird observation, studied the helical movement where he recognized one of the vital forces of nature, wrote his Notebooks on the flight of birds. He goes so far as to formulate the hypothesis of diverting the course of Arno to make it navigable to the Mediterranean coast.

In 1503, the reputation of Leonardo is such that the government of Florence entrusts him with the task of painting a fresco in the Council Room of the Vecchio Palace, The Battle of Anghiari, in memory of the Florentine victory over the Milanese in 1440. On the opposite wall, Michelangelo must paint the Battle of Cascina. But he only finished part of the preparatory boxes for the fresco and left Florence to return to Milan, still occupied by the French.

In 1513, he went to Rome where the papal court brought together a large number of artists. He is dedicated to his research and works on several projects at once, sanitation of the Pontine plain and the port of Civitavecchia, among others. Three years later, he leaves Rome for France where he is received with the highest honors: Francis I holds him in the highest esteem, fill him of wealth and entrusts him with prestigious projects. Leonardo da Vinci continues his researches, realizes the plans of castles and palaces, works with a thousand and one projects while continuing to paint. He completes The Mona Lisa, the most famous painting in the world, from which he never separates, not even on a trip.

According to legend, Leonardo da Vinci died in the arms of Francis I: he died on May 2, 1519 at Clos-Luce, his last home.

Leonardo and his mysteries

Leonardo da Vinci will never be part of sects and other secret organizations, but he knows alchemy and the principles of astrology, like most of his contemporaries, Galileo and Kepler after him. It is therefore not surprising that his works make reference to the zodiac and alchemy: at least in this, Leonardo is in no way distinguished from the men of his time!

To know "in truth" - as he said - the secrets of nature, he practices the dissection of the human body, about thirty corpses, it is said, of men and women of different ages. He studied anatomy in Florence, then in Pavia and Rome in the old hospital of the Holy Spirit. In order to better preserve and study organs as fragile as the eyes, he goes as far as cooking them like hard-boiled eggs. In the pope's city, he is accused of practicing witchcraft. If he is not tried in court, neither civil nor ecclesiastical, in the face of the prevailing hostility, he is still forced to leave the city. Through his daring research, he will evolve the painting and the scientific representation of the human body.

The mystery of the bicycle

The Atlantic Codex was restored in the monastery of St. Mary of Grottaferrata, between 1962 and 1972. Withdrawing the binding, we found the drawing reproduced here which did not fail to intrigue the researchers: it looks like the sketch of a modern bicycle. Why was it hidden? Presumably because it was accompanied by a licentious sketch. But doubts remain, among other reasons, the style of the drawing is not as refined as those drawn by Leonardo da Vinci. Who could’ve done it? One of his students, perhaps, who copied his studies on the transmission of movement by the chain. However, the drawing seems too "modern" not to arouse suspicion. Not to mention that, officially, the bicycle was invented only around 1880.

His amazing machines

In Milan, Ludovic le More entrusted Leonardo with the design of parties intended to amaze the court, thanks to the automatons and stunning scenographic effects made possible by his fabulous machines. But the Duke also needs weapons; Thus, although pacifist and loving animals to the point of being vegetarian, Leonardo gives another proof of his genius by designing totally futuristic war machines, as well as various systems of fortification and defense. With an incredible advance on his time, he designed battle tanks to protect soldiers and allow troops to fire on the enemy while being safe; a large crossbow on wheels equipped with a bow of 25 meters that can throw a rock of 50 kilos; bombards with explosive projectiles to "sow the enemy a great fear with serious damage and confusion".

But that's not all. He imagines a whole fleet of battleships equipped with guns; a gigantic catapult, but very easy to operate; a boat with blade movement that can be maneuvered by two men only. He also drew the plans for a swing bridge to allow the passage of boats, which can be operated quickly and by one person; a machine for digging and draining the mud of canals; a kind of helicopter equipped with a large spiral sail. He imagines a machine for gliding, a hang glider maneuvered by a pilot and also a machine reproducing the fluttering of birds' wings. He draws a parachute and notes on the margin of his sketch that any man "can throw himself of any height without any damage for his person".

Thus we can affirm, without the slightest hesitation, that no one like Leonardo da Vinci will have projected himself so well into the future.