Why Leonardo da Vinci Wouldn’t be an Artist in Modern Times

DaVinci STEM

Photo: Lehigh Valley, PA

When we think of Leonardo da Vinci, the “Mona Lisa” and the “Last Supper” come to mind — not a brilliant engineer hundreds of years before his time. What many do not realize is that da Vinci was a skilled engineer who inspired the Wright brothers and conceptualized the helicopter. Da Vinci came from very modest beginnings and rose up to become an unforgettable, iconic artist and inventor. He appreciated the beautiful along with the practical.

Considering the life of daVinci and the difference in the cultural values of his era and our era, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine him as a renowned engineer and not a world-famous artist.

Would he be an artist in modern times?

Da Vinci was by no means simply an artist. He was highly trained and had an extensive six-year apprenticeship with the artist Andrea del Verrocchio. Artists of his period were well versed in the construction and make-up of anatomy and advanced engineering. If he were ignorant of these things, he wouldn’t have invented what he is famous for. Although highly educated, he did not have access to todays technology. If he were able to explore college majors and had access to the resources of today’s universities, he might be remembered for another revolutionary idea.

Back to the future

With similar beginnings and the access to new technology, he may have pursued an engineering degree. Da Vinci conjured up the complex idea of a helicopter in a time when scientists still believed the world was flat. Imagine what genius ideas he could come up with using the resources and knowledge available in the 21st Century. He certainly would be artistic and appreciate beauty and the way the two concepts worked together.

Get in where you fit in

Although he is widely known as an artist, likely he would not have found a great deal of success in that field today. Thanks to artists like himself, art appreciation worldwide is high, and the field is highly competitive. It could be argued that da Vinci’s skill would transcend generations and time periods. It is also safe to say, economically, he would be better served in todays culture to diversify and pursue engineering.

Da Vinci may have been dissuaded from pursuing an art degree in this era, because art is not valued the way it was in the 16th Century. However, art still plays an extremely important role in design, especially engineering design.

While it is fun and interesting to consider what da Vinci would have done for a living today, it’s important to understand how the world has changed. Consider minoring in art and music while pursuing an engineering degree for a truly interdisciplinary approach so successful during the Renaissance. Take inspiration from Da Vinci. Combining observations from nature and anatomy, your engineering skills just might solve some of the world’s biggest problems.

Author: Daniel Brown

Danny comes from a family of educators: Mom was an English teacher, and Dad sits on the school board in his hometown. While he finishes up his master’s in education, Danny writes for several education blogs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>