UMD CMNS Physics S1 Color

Bulent Atalay, University of Mary Washington
December 01, 2009

Leonardo was a part-time artist, a passionate scientist, and a consummate inventor, whose interests were frequently inseparable. Physicist-artist Bulent Atalay invokes ‘Leonardo’s Model,’ in order to achieve the larger goal of achieving a synthesis of the two fields by presenting science through art, and art through science

Part I. “The Artist Doing Science” Described by legendary art historian Lord Kenneth Clark as the “most relentlessly curious man in history,” Leonardo constantly sought patterns, symmetries and connections in all of his studies. His astonishingly sharp observational skills led him not to prefigure sciences not to be formally invented for centuries. With unmatched drafting skills, he illustrated his ideas that reveal him to be one of the greatest scientists ever. Leonardo was in the business of inventing the future, but, since he was not publishing his discoveries, was not influencing the future.

Part II. “The Scientist Doing Art.” An extraordinary level of reciprocity exists between Leonardo the artist and Leonardo the scientist-engineer. The qualities of timelessness and universality in his miraculous works speak eloquently for themselves. He created the two most famous works in the history of art. With ‘Leonardo's Model’ providing the unifying thread, however, it becomes possible, first, to glimpse his restless intellect, that extraordinary psyche; second, to see whence the ideas for his works of art came; and ultimately to appreciate his art at a different level.

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