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On this episode of The Sofa King Podcast, we delve into the life of the genius, artist, scientist, anatomist, engineer, and the original futurist—Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci was born in 1452 and is considered one of (or the?) most important artists in all of human history. He was the ultimate renaissance man. The techniques of chiaroscuro and sfumato are attributed to him, and some versions of history claim that when he was learning how to paint, his master was so humbled by da Vinci’s abilities that he never took up a brush again. Leonardo da Vinci was hired to do a few pieces of art in Florence and flaked out on both of them, but eventually a member of the powerful de’ Medici family hired him to make a silver lyre. From there, word of his abilities spread, and he was hired by the future Duke of Milan. His job wasn’t as an artist, however. It was as a designer of war engines and siege machines. Da Vinci’s abilities as a mechanical engineer and visionary outstripped even his abilities as an artist, and this is where some of his 6000 pages of drawings and designs started to come from. At this point, he started to get more and more commissions as an artist, and he eventually landed in Rome, where he conducted (often secret) dissections and vivisections of human cadavers and created the most detailed works of human anatomy ever drawn or painted before. He became the ultimate celebrity of his era, hanging out with kings and popes and the wealthy who controlled the banks. He was involved in wars and had sexual scandals with male lovers, and he dreamed up some of the greatest things ever dreamed by humanity. From sixteen foot tall horse statues to animatronic golden lions that sprung flowers from their chest, from ornithopters to helicopter, and from giant crossbows to the Last Supper, this episode has it all.   Cool article on an possible newly discovered da Vinci piece: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2012/02/lost-da-vinci/o-neill-text

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