In today’s modern society, a majority of the ideas and creations that have been adapted into a part of everyday lives can be linked back to a special role model from years past. Like many revered historical figures, Leonardo da Vinci’s accomplishments remained unappreciated until many years later. However, throughout his life, Leonardo da Vinci achieved many milestones in the areas of anatomy, mathematics and engineering that have positively and greatly influenced today’s society.
One of da Vinci’s biggest areas of success was in the field of anatomy; mostly human anatomy. Over the course of his lifetime, da Vinci dissected about thirty human corpses in order to better understand their functionality and structure. By doing this, he discovered how arms and legs work, and discovered the bicep muscle is responsible for bending the elbow and turning the palm of the hand upwards. Da Vinci also created casts of the human heart and brain organs to have molds of their true size and shape. In an article written by Joseph Kellard (2019, 96), author of Leonardo da Vinci, he states:
While Leonardo da Vinci was refining the Mona Lisa, he was also involved in dissecting human cadavers in a hospital’s morgue. Among his anatomical interests were the muscles that move the lips. At about the same time he discovered that the upper lip doesn’t pucker alone, he was perfecting what would become the most notable feature of the most recognizable painting in history: Mona Lisa’s smile. On a page in one of his voluminous notebooks—which were filled with everything from his theoretical writings on art and flight to his drawings of horses and a perpetual motion machine—Da Vinci sketched various human mouths, including one smiling gently.
Leonardo da Vinci’s studies in anatomy even contributed to his infamous painting, the Mona Lisa, which is still one of the most famous paintings in history. Therefore, da Vinci’s studies in anatomy have a large effect on modern-day practices and knowledge.
Da Vinci has also influenced society through his many ingenious creations and blueprints for new creations and innovations. Some of da Vinci’s inventions that are still being used today include the calculator, helicopters, machine guns, triple barrel cannons, and the creation of solar-powered gadgets. According to Debbie Sniderman (2012), author of Leonardo da Vinci, “He also focused on mechanics of levers, gears, cranes, hydraulics, ball bearings, bicycles, and flying machines. He displayed civil engineering talents as well, with geometry studies and architectural designs of domed churches, fortresses, and canals”. This explains a few of the many inventions of da Vinci and how his skills contributed to a large part of everyday activities.
Even though da Vinci seemed to be an avid procrastinator, he still managed to leave behind many blueprints and sketches for items that could later be put into action by others, and still greatly benefited the public. In her article, Sniderman (2012) also states “Most of his designs were never published, financed, or built. Some of his futuristic ideas couldn’t have been built at the time and took hundreds of years to be re-invented. Even though he did not greatly affect the technology at the time, his theoretical treatments and complete documentation were significant, greatly impacting the future.” Even though a majority of his inventions were never created by da Vinci by hand, he is still credited for these inventions including a military tank, the first scuba diving suit, bridges, and even the “perfect” layout for the city of Milan, and many other inventions that are used every day in society. This shows that even though da Vinci did not find the time to implement all of his ideas, his influence was so profound that others had the opportunity to follow his observations and create new, helpful developments.
Another area of study by da Vinci that has positively influenced society is in the field of mathematics. As a skilled painter, many of Leonardo da Vinci’s accomplishments in mathematics contributed to his artwork. For instance, da Vinci and another Italian mathematician, Luca Pacioli, published a book in 1509 called De Divina Proportione. This book focused on mathematical proportions and geometric concepts in light of visual works. In an article by Arthur V. Johnson (2016, 221) author of Leonardo de Vinci, he explains that “[da Vinci] discovered a proof of the Pythagorean Theorem, dissected various geometric figures, and illustrated a book about geometry and art. At one point in Leonardo’s life, a friend of his noted that ‘his mathematics experiments have distracted him so much from his painting that he can no longer stand his paintbrush.” Leonardo da Vinci played a very important role in the foundations of connecting math and geometry to artwork so that future artists could perform their artwork in an even more exact and flawless execution.
In conclusion, Leonardo da Vinci can be thanked for our knowledge in many different areas and for his great contributions to society. Throughout his life, Leonardo da Vinci accomplished many important and crucial milestones in the areas of anatomy, engineering, and mathematics that are still being used in everyday lives hundreds of years later.