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Leonardo da Vinci between experience and knowledge

Leonardo Da Vinci, Tuscan historical personality, is the most concrete example of “universal genius”, namely a person whose knowledge is boundless. In Leonardo’s thought we find his baselines, in particular Aristotle and Plato. Leonardo retakes from Aristotle the concept of experience as a unique way to get to a solid knowledge.

Because we get to know from our own experience. And those who just argue their points of view and refuse other people’s one only by referring to other eminent thinkers, they have a distorted view of reality .

So experience, according to Leonardo, must support, corroborate and confirm the work of our mind. The abstract thinking generates a lot of mistakes because there’s no comparison with reality. This doesn’t mean that the inductive reasoning is to be banned, but it should be verified by the actual experience: only in this way it becomes effective and allows us to know the state of the art.

Leonardo da Vinci: his platonic influence among myth, knowledge and craftmanship

Knowledge is not a process free of hurdles and sorrows: in many cases it leads to discredit truths that for us were solid. Knowledge is a path that requires courage and virtue: only with this state of mind changing our opinions is possible when assumed certainties are refuted by facts. Leonardo in this regards never backed down, thanks to platonic myths, in particular Aristotle’s Caves.

Since he lived in a transitional period between Humanism and Renaissance, Leonardo is a difficult figure to fit in classic stereotypes or preconceived schema. His interest in things, his pleasure for proving himself and his mental attitude to continuous improvement are basic elements to describe him.

His dedication to work, his protectiveness towards his art and his papers make him an artisan. An atypical artisan compared to the conventional meaning of the term. Leonardo, living in a prosperous period, must put together  new concepts with already acquired artisan methods and make them coexist.

Because every idea, work, processing aiming to excellence requires a right balance of culture, tradition, creativity, and “genius”. The whole thing has to be an alchemy of expertise performed by the hands of skilled people that make patience and experience their asset.

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