Few Renaissance figures have as many legends swirling around their life as Leonardo da Vinci. The myths persist because of the unconventional nature of his life. Leonardo was a painter, architect, sculptor, mathematician, engineer, musician, inventor, anatomist, geologist, botanist, cartographer, military strategist, and writer. Leonardo is the ideal of a multi-accomplished humanist figure, of limitless curiosity and feverish imagination. He employed unusual empirical methods of the time to approach his broad scope of interest. He made discoveries in optics, hydrodynamics, engineering, and anatomy. He conceived of flying machines, armored vehicles, calculators, the double hull, and even concentrated solar power. Few of his designs came to fruition – his flying machine would have crashed into the ground if ever built and tested – but some of his designs were manufactured, such as a machine that tested the tensile strength of wire and an automated bobbin winder.
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