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Very wordy, interesting but not sufficient drawings of his great inventions and projects. I guess I was looking for a "Da Vinci for dummies"; wanting to glance over his overall work but also know more about this fascinating man. Not enough bio but I have to recognize that this book is very well researched. Maybe I'll find something simpler elsewhere; I like Da Vinci as a philosopher more than just the inventor; very good book however, Recommended
Bravo! Capra proves once again that he is a superb writer and meticulous researcher. I believe Leonardo was one of the first to use a logical scientific method of investigation. but this compelling story tells much much more. Next please.
The history of Leonardo da Vinci is a fascinating subject that Capra brings to life quite effortlessly in his attempt at framing the scientific work of this great artist. In fact, da Vinci was far more a scientist than an artist, and his meticulous obsession with anatomy in his artistic endeavors showcases one of the greatest scientific achievements of any mind.
Capra's enthusiasm for da Vinci is evident in his explanation of da Vinci's systemic approach to the arts and sciences. Capra, himself, is very much a proponent of integrated systems - an acknowledged supporter of the idea of the interconnectedness of life. Whereas the reductive, mechanistic view of Decartes has dominated the sciences, discoveries in biology and physics over the last few decades have begun to show signs of a paradigm shift towards a more integrated approach. Capra - as a physicist - is on the cutting edge of this approach, so his writing and inferences are not without bias. His excitement and promotion of da Vinci is clearly a mutually promotional effort, but that doesn't make the book any less enjoyable.
Strangely enough, it is the half of the book that biographically details da Vinci's life and work that becomes the shining strength of this text. Although the latter half's discourse on da Vinci's science is informative and compelling, it lacks a lot of the intrigue present in the historical telling of da Vinci's story. It doesn't disappoint, but it also doesn't build upon the momentum of the first half.
Regardless of any trivial complaints, Capra's book is truly a masterpiece on the life and work of one of the greatest minds to ever live and modern science does seem to be slowly incorporating many of this great thinker's scientific philosophies. One should expect that not long into the future the science of Leonardo da Vinci will be just as heralded as his art.
Leonardo da Vinci has been and continues to be a subject of constant interest, research and admiration. Was he a painter interested in science? Yes. A scientist that draw and painted to better understand the phenomena he wanted to study? Yes. A physician who dissected bodies in order to design the best anatomy maps for years to come, establishing the parallelism between circulatory system and rivers and their effluents, between the undulation of human hair and the flow of liquids? Yes. A brilliant civil and militar engineer, architect, scenographer, musician, composer and poet? Also yes, and much more. His multidimensional mind still leaves us ordinary mortals appalled. The more he discovered the more he realized what he did not know, being this self-induced learning one of the most outstanding characteristics of his endless activities. As Marcel Brion points beautifuly in his biography of Leonardo, the atypical unschooled childhood he enjoyed could have strongly contributed to his ability for discovery and self-teaching. To make it short, we can say that Leonardo embodies what today is known as “Systems Thinking”, that is, the ability to acknowledge and respect the infinite connections between everything and everything else, as well as our limited knowledge of such connections and their effects.
Fritjof Capra (bestseller of The Tao of Physics), himself a man of science, has been interested in Leonardo for decades, an interest that he has materialized lately in several books on Leonardo’s work and thinking, one of which I had the privilege to translate into Spanish (La Botánica de Leonardo). In “The Science of Leonardo” Capra explores, through the respectful eyes of a scientist for another, the already mentioned multidimensional mind of the Toscana genius and its ongoing revelations. Capra’s writing is fluid, stimulating, rigorous, orderly and soundly documented. A must read if you wish to deepen in your knowledge and admiration for Leonardo da Vinci. I strongly recommend that you complement this reading with Marcel Brion’s Leonardo’s biography and Luís Racionero’s essay on the same subject.
A great writer who brings this material to the reader in a way that holds you fast across every page. As an artist I thought I "knew" Leonardo: but here, I understand his true and expanded importance, as such an extraordinary human being. Through DaVinci's search for an understanding of our world, we feel a kind of love, which I can't exactly explain: Capra manages to convey this. DaVinci was clearly a "beautiful mind". Capra has written a page turner, literally that's is how I experienced this book. Properly illustrated when you need to see references from the Notebooks. Now I see Leonardo with an immensely expanded view, as a trailblazer, as a wisdom seeker, as a lover of nature, animals and the physical forces of our world, as an ecologist, botanist, physicist, engineer, anatomist all this added to his remarkable work as a visual artist, and all these things in the coordinated and finely linked quest to understand with a big U.