Welcome to our collection of quotes (with shareable picture quotes) by Leonardo da Vinci. We hope you enjoy pondering them and that you will share them widely.
Leonardo da Vinci (15 April 1452 – 2 May 1519) was an Italian polymath of the High Renaissance who was active as a painter, draughtsman, engineer, scientist, theorist, sculptor and architect. While his fame initially rested on his achievements as a painter, he also became known for his notebooks, in which he made drawings and notes on a variety of subjects, including anatomy, astronomy, botany, cartography, painting, and paleontology. Leonardo's genius epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal, and his collective works compose a contribution to later generations of artists matched only by that of his younger contemporary, Michelangelo.
Born out of wedlock to a successful notary and a lower-class woman in, or near, Vinci, he was educated in Florence by the renowned Italian painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio. He began his career in the city, but then spent much time in the service of Ludovico Sforza in Milan. Later, he worked in Florence and Milan again, as well as briefly in Rome, all while attracting a large following of imitators and students. Upon the invitation of Francis I, he spent his last three years in France, where he died in 1519. Since his death, there has not been a time where his achievements, diverse interests, personal life, and empirical thinking have failed to incite interest and admiration, making him a frequent namesake and subject in culture.
Leonardo is among the greatest painters in the history of art and is often credited as the founder of the High Renaissance. Despite having many lost works and less than 25 attributed major works—including numerous unfinished works—he created some of the most influential paintings in Western art. His magnum opus, the Mona Lisa, is his best known work and often regarded as the world's most famous painting. The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time and his Vitruvian Man drawing is also regarded as a cultural icon. In 2017, Salvator Mundi, attributed in whole or part to Leonardo, was sold at auction for US$450.3 million, setting a new record for most expensive painting ever sold at public auction.
Revered for his technological ingenuity, he conceptualized flying machines, a type of armored fighting vehicle, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or even feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance. Some of his smaller inventions, however, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire. He made substantial discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, geology, optics, tribology, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had little to no direct influence on subsequent science.
For youth, everything is sport.
In the days of thy youth seek to obtain that which shall compensate the losses of thy old age.
All knowledge which ends in words will die as quickly as it came to life.
That which can be lost cannot be deemed riches.
He who sows virtue reaps glory.
To such an extent does nature delight and abound in variety that among her trees there is not one plant to be found which is exactly like another.
It is ill to praise, and worse to blame, the thing which you do not understand.
O time! swift devourer of all created things!
He who thinks little errs much.
The painter's work will be of little merit if he takes the painting of others as his standard, but if he studies from nature he will produce good fruits.
If you call painting dumb poetry, the painter may call poetry blind painting.
The greatest deception which men incur proceeds from their opinions.
Necessity is the theme and inventress of nature, her curb and her eternal law.
Oh! marvellous, O stupendous Necessity -- by thy laws thou dost compel every effect to be the direct result of its cause, by the shortest path. These are miracles.
Necessity is the mistress and guardian of Nature.
Nature never breaks her laws.
He is a poor disciple who does not surpass his master.
Thou, O God, dost sell us all good things at the price of labour.
Knowledge ... shall always bear witness like a clarion to its creator.
All our knowledge has its origin in our preceptions.
Although human ingenuity may devise various inventions which, by the help of various instruments, answer to one and the same purpose, yet will it never discover any inventions more beautiful, more simple or more practical than those of nature.
He who wishes to grow rich in a day will be hanged in a year.
When fortune comes seize her in front firmly, because behind she is bald.
Faults are more easily recognized in the works of others than in our own.
Fame should be depicted covered with tongues instead of with feathers and in the form of a bird.
Experience is a truer guide than the words of others.
The evil which does me no harm is like the good which in no wise avails me.
He who fears dangers will not perish by them.
To become an artist you have to be curious.
For once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
Supreme happiness will be the greatest cause of misery, and the perfection of wisdom the occasion of folly.
Learning acquired in youth arrests the evil of old age; and if you understand that old age has wisdom for its food, you will so conduct yourself in youth that your old age will not lack for nourishment.
Iron rusts from disuse even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.
He who possesses most must be most afraid of loss.
A deaf and dumb person who sees two men in conversation may nevertheless understand from the attitudes and gestures of the speakers, how well their discussion is getting along.
A long life is a life well spent.
Once you have tasted the taste of sky, you will forever look up.
He who does not punish evil commands it to be done.
When once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
The grave will fall in upon him who digs it.
Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence, he is just using his memory.
Mechanics is the paradise of the mathematical sciences because by means of it, one comes to the fruits of mathematics.
Common sense is that which judges the things given to it by other senses.
What is called nothingness is to be found only in time and in speech. In time it stands between the past and future and has no existence in the present; and thus in speech it is one of the things of which we say: They are not, or they are impossible.
The boundaries of bodies are the least of all things.
Life well spent is long.
It reflects no great honour on a painter to be able to execute one thing well.
O admirable necessity! O powerful action! What mind can penetrate your nature? What language can express this marvel? None, to be sure. This is where human discourse turns toward the contemplation of the divine.
Men of genius sometimes accomplish most when they work least, for they are thinking out inventions.
Whoever despises the high wisdom of mathematics nourishes himself on delusion and will never still the sophistic sciences whose only product is an eternal uproar.
For once you have tasted flight you will walk the Earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.
Our body is dependent on heaven and heaven on the Spirit.
When counting, try not to mix chickens with blessings.
We are deceived by promises and time disappoints us.
I am still hopeful. A falcon, Time. But the coincidence is probably accidental.
The men of experiment are like the ant; they only collect and use. But the bee...gathers its materials from the flowers of the garden and of the field, but transforms and digests it by a power of its own.
Oh! how foul a thing, that we should see the tongue of one animal in the guts of another.
Necessity is a guardian in Nature.
We, by our arts may be called the grandsons of God.
There is no higher or lower knowledge, but one only, flowing out of experimentation.
The instant the atmosphere is illuminated it will be filled with an infinite number of images which are produced by the various bodies and colours assembled in it. And the eye is the target, a lodestone, of these images.
Do not imitate one another's style. If you do, so far as your art is concerned you will be called a grandson, rather than the son of Nature.
There is nothing which deceives us as much as our own judgement.
Where there is most feeling, there is the greatest martyrdom.
Let not your rage or malice destroy a life.
If the thing loved is base, the lover becomes base.
The mind of a painter should be like a mirror which is filled with as many images as there are things placed before him.
Lust is the cause of generation.
Lust is the cause of generation
Appetite is the support of life
Fear or timidity is the prolongation of life, and
Fraud the preservation of its instruments.
Among the great things which are found among us the existence of Nothing is the greatest.
Strive to preserve your health; and in this you will better succeed in proportion as you keep clear of the physicians, for their drugs are a kind of alchemy concerning which there are no fewer books than there are medicines.
Poetry is superior to painting in the presentation of words, and painting is superior to poetry in the presentation of facts. For this reason I judge painting to be superior to poetry.
Make yourself a master of perspective, then acquire perfect knowledge of the proportions of men and other animals.
Let proportion be found not only in numbers and measures, but also in sounds, weights, times, and positions, and what ever force there is.
Practice should always be based upon a sound knowledge of theory.
I abhor the supreme folly of those who blame the disciples of nature in defiance of those masters who were themselves her pupils.
A bird is an instrument working according to mathematical law, which instrument it is within the capacity of man to reproduce with all its movements.
When you are painting you should take a flat mirror and often look at your work within it, and it will then be seen in reverse, and will appear to be by the hand of some other master, and you will be better able to judge of its faults than in any other way.
The first of all simple colours is White ... We shall set down White for the representative of light, without which no colour can be seen; Yellow for the earth; Green for water; Blue for air; Red for fire; and Black for total darkness.
Here is a thing which the more you fear and avoid it the nearer you approach to it, and this is misery; the more you flee from it the more miserable and restless you will become.
Intellectual passion dries out sensuality.
We might say that the earth has the spirit of growth; that its flesh is the soil.
How painting surpasses all human works by reason of the subtle possibilities which it contains.
Perspective is a most subtle discovery in mathematical studies, for by means of lines it causes to appear distant that which is near, and large that which is small.
The fame of the rich man dies with him; the fame of the treasure, and not of the man who possessed it, remains.
O mighty and once living instrument of formative nature. Incapable of availing thyself of thy vast strength thou hast to abandon a life of stillness and to obey the law which God and time gave to procreative nature.
Many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitudes.
I am never weary of being useful... In serving others I cannot do enough. No labor is sufficient to tire me.
All objects transmit their image to the eye in pyramids and the nearer to the eye these pyramids are intersected the smaller will the image appear of the objects which cause them.
Even the richest soil, if left uncultivated will produce the rankest weeds.
Movement will fail sooner than usefulness.
Black is like a broken vessel, which is deprived of the capacity to contain anything.
The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.
To discover the soul living in somebody's body, we watch the surrounding of the body, and if it's messy and disordered, so is the soul.