Leonardo da Vinci is known to one and all as the iconic figure of the Renaissance era. His area of interest were ass wide ranging as they were impressive and included invention, drawing, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music, mathematics, engineering, literature, anatomy, geology, astronomy, botany, writing, history, and cartography. Whew!
This week the world paused for a moment to celebrate his extraordinary life and accomplishments on the 500th anniversary of his passing. As a part of the homage CNN produced a retrospective and timeline of his life. The interesting and interactive web portal allows you to enter your age and see exactly what Leonardo was working on when he was your age. (Do not proceed if your ego is frail or you're struggling with self-esteem issues).
Ugh… Well here it goes. I typed in my age (52) and here is what appeared:
"At the age of 52, having completed the sketch of the Vitruvian Man and painting of the Last Supper, Leonardo began work on his most famous masterpiece, the Mona Lisa (I don't need to hyperlink that do I?). He was also working on a monumental mural at Florence's Palazzo Vecchio, (The Battle of Anghiari) which would have been his largest painting at more 56 feet in length."
Seriously!? Like my feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt weren’t enough, now I have to use the "Grand Master of all things" as my mid-life (crisis) measuring stick?
That not enough to make you want to crawl back in to bed and contemplate the insignificance of your life? Well there’s more. It turns out that in addition to painting some of the world’s greatest masterpieces, by his 51st birthday he had about had enough spare time to sketch out designs for the first helicopter, adding machine, parachute, military tank, double decker bridge and wait for it…. city of the future!
Clearly, I am no da Vinci.
Many historians regard Leonardo as the prime example of a Universal Genius and marvel at the fact that his singular greatness seemed to know no bounds.
After extraordinary life and art, expression and invention, Leonardo da Vinci died at 67 years of age on May 2, 1519, leaving two notable holes in his expansive body of work.
Music and education.
Yep, that’s right, to the best of our (documentable) knowledge, da Vinci was never a true musician or a teacher. Yes, his work inspired and helped to educate but there is no evidence that he formally taught. And while It is considered Leonardo thought music second only to painting in the importance of his artistic talents, history has left us with little in the way of written evidence regarding his musical abilities other than a few very brief melodies. And while he designed several musical instruments, there is no evidence he could actually play them.
After celebrating his enumerable impact and incomparable mind last week and this incredible profession we call our own this week. Let’s wonder in the fact that the things that eluded history’s greatest mind, are things you do with ease each and every day.
Yes, it’s true, I am no da Vinci. But then again, he was no music educator.
Happy Teacher Appreciation Week.