Study of a child with a cat, 1478.
"It was because of his profound knowledge of painting that Leonardo started so many things without finishing them; for he was convinced that his hands, for all their skill, could never perfectly express the subtle and wonderful ideas of his imagination."
Giorgio Vasari, in ‘The Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors and Architects’, 1568.
"The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions."
Da Vinci was the first to accurately describe trees’ branching rules. He created sketches of trees in a page of his notebook based on the rule that daughter branches and twigs have the same combined cross-sectional area as the branch from which they originated.
"I awoke, only to find that the rest of the world is asleep."
"An arch is two weaknesses which together make a strength."
"Art says the unsayable; expresses the inexpressible, translates the untranslatable."
St John the Baptist, 1513-16.
Leonardo did not love men. He was not as saintly as San Francisco, who loved them in spite of themselves; or as prophetic as Savonarola, who loved them because he flagellated them; or as passionate as Michelangelo, who loved them, and hated them, because of his need to be in conflict with them.
Leonardo could not love them. They offended him, with their greed, laziness, arrogance and willful ignorance.
In the preface to his anatomy books of, he writes: “Often when I see a man pick up a book, I fear, as the monkey, he will bring it to his nose, or ask if it is something to eat.”
Renato Castellani, La Vita di Leonardo da Vinci
"The water that you touch in a river, is the last of what has passed, and the first of that which comes; so with present time."
"There are three classes of people:
Those who see;
Those who see when they are shown;
Those who never see."
"Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active."
The Head of a Woman (La Scapigliata), ca. 1508.
— at Galleria Nazionale di Parma.