A couple of weekends ago I visited a travelling Leonardo Da Vinci exhibit that is currently in St. Louis. I will preface this post by saying that Da Vinci is the historical figure I admire most. His life has inspired and influenced mine in countless ways. One of the most recent ways Da Vinci has inspired me is in my purpose for my business. I founded an academic coaching business, Studee-Lounge, several years ago with the distinct goal of finding a way to help students be more like Da Vinci in the way they learn and apply what they learn.
Da Vinci is incredibly interesting because he is credited with so many crucial inventions, some of which have not been replaced in 500 years. For instance, he invented differential gears that to-date, work the same way. Of course, today we have better materials that he did not have and we also have power sources that didn’t exist in his day. However, the concept is still the same. This is simply one of many things I learned about him on the tour of the exhibit.
Unfortunately, we know little about Da Vinci’s upbringing. What is known is that up until he was almost a teenager he lived with his uncle and did not attend school. He simply explored nature with his uncle every day and they discussed topics like philosophy, nature, science, etc. He learned by asking questions of experiences and seeking the answers himself. When he reached his teenage years, his father took him to Florence and enrolled him in school. However, Leonardo did not enjoy learning from textbooks nor simply discussing topics that he could not experience personally. He caused problems for his teachers and was eventually enrolled with famed master artist Verocchio. It is mostly from this point on that we know a great deal about Da Vinci’s life.
I find his upbringing interesting, however little we know. He learned by doing and his curiosity was encouraged and nourished at such a young age. I believe the key to “creating” the next Da Vinci is in encouraging and nourishing curiosity. Subsequently, he sought answers to his questions and learned to solve his own problems. He became so good at it that he went on to explore, solve, and innovate in fields as distinct as fluid dynamics, flight, mechanics, botany, art, biology, anatomy, etc. He truly was a renaissance man.
Below are some pictures from my day at the exhibit…