Arguably, his list of interests and endeavors is only outdone by the catalog of his life’s accomplishments. In addition to composing his incredibly detailed notebooks, which consist of hundreds and hundreds of pages containing a wide array of notes, drawings, illustrations, and the like covering every conceivable topic of interest to an inquiring mind, he also found time to create some the world’s best known masterpieces. These include the sketch of the Vitruvian Man, the carving of the Statue of David, and the painting of the Mona Lisa, and numerous others.
How does one single person accomplish so much ion life? Leonardo gave us a clue when he once offered this sage advice to his pupils…
“Every now and then go away, have a little relaxation, for when you come back to your work your judgment will be surer, since to remain constantly at work will cause you to lose power of judgment. Go some distance away because then the work appears smaller, and more of it can be taken in at a glance, and lack of harmony or proportion is more readily seen.”
Leonardo was not the first to encourage such behavior. Long before him, Jesus Christ took time away for rest and rejuvenation. The Gospels make this plain. He also encouraged His followers to do the same. See, for instance, Mark 1:35; Luke 4:42; Matthew 14:13; Mark 6:31; etc…
My wife and I too have come to see the value of these things. For this reason, even as I write these words, we are away undertaking some “R and R”. Hopefully, like Leonardo, and like Jesus before him, we are also gaining a little perspective in the process.
LEONARDO QUOTE SOURCE: https://quotefancy.com/quote/26132/Leonardo-da-Vinci-Every-now-and-then-go-away-have-a-little-relaxation-for-when-you-come.
NOTE: Here is Leonardo’s personal “Resume”, as it were. In 1482, at the age of 30, he boldly wrote out a letter with a list of his capabilities and sent it off to Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. It reads as follows:
“Most Illustrious Lord, Having now sufficiently considered the specimens of all those who proclaim themselves skilled contrivers of instruments of war, and that the invention and operation of the said instruments are nothing different from those in common use: I shall endeavor, without prejudice to anyone else, to explain myself to your Excellency, showing your Lordship my secret, and then offering them to your best pleasure and approbation to work with effect at opportune moments on all those things which, in part, shall be briefly noted below.
1. I have a sort of extremely light and strong bridges, adapted to be most easily carried, and with them you may pursue, and at any time flee from the enemy; and others, secure and indestructible by fire and battle, easy and convenient to lift and place. Also methods of burning and destroying those of the enemy.
2. I know how, when a place is besieged, to take the water out of the trenches, and make endless variety of bridges, and covered ways and ladders, and other machines pertaining to such expeditions.
3. If, by reason of the height of the banks, or the strength of the place and its position, it is impossible, when besieging a place, to avail oneself of the plan of bombardment, I have methods for destroying every rock or other fortress, even if it were founded on a rock, etc.
4. Again, I have kinds of mortars; most convenient and easy to carry; and with these I can fling small stones almost resembling a storm; and with the smoke of these cause great terror to the enemy, to his great detriment and confusion.
5. And if the fight should be at sea I have kinds of many machines most efficient for offense and defense; and vessels which will resist the attack of the largest guns and powder and fumes.
6. I have means by secret and tortuous mines and ways, made without noise, to reach a designated spot, even if it were needed to pass under a trench or a river.
7. I will make covered chariots, safe and unattackable, which, entering among the enemy with their artillery, there is no body of men so great but they would break them. And behind these, infantry could follow quite unhurt and without any hindrance.
8. In case of need I will make big guns, mortars, and light ordnance of fine and useful forms, out of the common type.
9. Where the operation of bombardment might fail, I would contrive catapults, mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines of marvelous efficacy and not in common use. And in short, according to the variety of cases, I can contrive various and endless means of offense and defense.
10. In times of peace I believe I can give perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any other in architecture and the composition of buildings public and private; and in guiding water from one place to another.
11. I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze, or clay, and also I can do in painting whatever may be done, as well as any other, be he who he may.
Again, the bronze horse may be taken in hand, which is to be to the immortal glory and eternal honor of the prince your father of happy memory, and of the illustrious house of Sforza.
And if any of the above-named things seem to anyone to be impossible or not feasible, I am most ready to make the experiment in your park, or in whatever place may please your Excellency – to whom I comment myself with the utmost humility, etc.”