Birds played a great part in Leonardo’s life as did much of the natural world. But what made him buy caged birds, only to set them free?
Leonardo loved animals and felt very passionate about them. So much so that he decided to become a vegetarian. Because of his vegetarianism, he had a habit of purchasing caged birds from the local market and releasing them into the wild.
The kite – the bird which compelled Leonardo. This thinker who flew over the boundaries between disciplines whose genius ranged from art to physics, from anatomy to astronomy had a great dream: to make man fly. Centuries before any real progress for a practical flying machine was achieved, he expressed the seeds of the ideas that would eventually lead humans to the skies and now beyond that to Mars.
From the wing of a kite he envisioned that of a flying machine. But first he had to understand the secret of flight. Leonardo had long observed water in motion and he was the first to draw air as a fluid. In the codex he describes the concept of gravity. Newton would arrive to that two centuries later. He identified the physical forces generated by a wing in air and he was just on the verge of understanding the difference in pressure on the surface of the wing. But that’s not all. The Codex shows that he understood how the kite manoeuvres and changes altitude. He even drew a pilot in a kind of cockpit and imagined the movements to support flight. He even devised the first “air bag” in history. Actually a kind of wineskin filled with water to cushion the pilot in case of a fall.
And who would have imagined that the pages of such sublime intuitions also contained a shopping list? There is a chicken that cost Leonardo two Solidi. But right next to the list is his extraordinary prophecy: “It will make the first flight, this great bird filling the universe with awe filling all writings with its fame and eternal glory to the nest where it was born.” These are reasons he brought caged birds only to set them free. He had a great deal of love, respect and admiration for them.
This codex contained more than 35,000 words and 500 sketches on flying machines, the nature of air and bird flight. In fact the codex which held these documents on aerodynamics can now be found along with Da Vinci’s self portrait digitally (on a chip) on Mars. What a fitting journey for the genius whose life was driven by curiosity!
Inspired? Have a look at this beautifully detailed working model of Leonardo Da Vinci’s glider. Includes high quality reproduction of Leonardo’s original drawing on canvas.
Where from? Amazon
Check out this Hand painted oil painting of Da Vinci’s “Drawings of a bird in flight” – 100% museum quality
Where from? Amazon