What were Leonardo DaVinci's contributions and their impact?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Leonardo DaVinci made contributions to the study of science, medicine and art.  In his relentless pursuit to understand how our world works, he was one of the world's greatest inventors, thinkers, scientists, artists and writers.  A true Renaissance Man, Leonardo DaVinci was a leading voice for reason, logic and science in a world dominated by superstition.

"Flying machines, parachutes, submarines, underwater rebreathing devices, self floatation/ocean rescue devices, swimming fins, pumping mechanisms, water turbines, dredging systems, steam calorimeters, water-well drill, swing bridges, canals, leveling/surveying instruments, cranes, pulley systems, street-lighting systems, convection roasting spit, mechanical saw, treadle-operated lathe, compasses, contact lenses, and military weapons."

DaVinci's genius creates inventions that are far ahead of their time.  In addition to being a world-class inventor, he was a phenomenal painter, his most notable works include, the Mona Lisa, and The Last Supper, as well as The Baptism of Christ.

He also worked to study human anatomy. He dissecting around 30 corpses to get an intimate look at the heart and brain, which he made wax molds of to study further.

Leonardo's studies of heart bought interesting results. At the time it was generally believe that the heart was the source of the 'vital spirit'; it heated the blood which then flowed through the body carrying 'vital spirit'. The idea of the 'noble' heart as just another muscle was never considered and the above ideas, from Aristotle and Greek doctor Galen, were universally accepted. 

His contributions are so vast and cover so many disciplines, or areas of study that it is impossible to include everything in one answer.  

  

teachersage eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Leonardo da Vinci made important contributions from his conviction that art and science should work together, not be placed in separate compartments. To his mind, science could teach creative people how to produce better art, and artistic creativity could enhance scientific study. Therefore, he did not study just one or the other of these fields alone, but both. For example, he studied human physiology both as a scientific endeavor and to improve his drawing and painting. Not only did his studies, which included dissections, improve his art, after he died, the detailed drawings he made advanced scientific knowledge of the human body. 

Da Vinci's far-reaching scientific studies had an impact on the art world through his painting. He experimented with perspective and mastered the art of the "vanishing point," a technique which gave his paintings a tremendous sense of depth or three-dimensionality. Many future artists studied and used his techniques.

Da Vinci thought that seeing was all important, making him an early empiricist. He put a primacy not on received tradition, but on observing with his own eyes. He made maps and studied geology. He made early attempts at conceptualizing technologies that centuries later became realities, such as helicopters and tanks.

Da Vinci was a true "Renaissance man," meaning a person whose interests were extremely wide roving. He was interested in almost everything and never limited his scope. This might be a philosophy more needed in today's world, where the rewards tend to go to the specialist, not the person who makes links between far-flung fields of study.