One of the truly great minds of all time, the 15th-century Italian artist Leonardo da Vinci was uncannily ahead of his time, giving the world not only the Mona Lisa and his other extraordinary works of art, but also designs for a helicopter, military tank, submarine, bicycle - and even the sewing machine - among many other incredibly advanced innovations.
It has also been argued that he may even have been behind the faking of Christianity's most precious relic, the Shroud of Turin through the use of an ingenious form of primitive photography...
Yet despite his genius - and the many dozen of full notebooks he left to posterity - the man Leonardo remains largely unknown: intensely private to the point of secretiveness, there is no way of knowing his innermost thoughts or even what really drove his restless being. Illegitimate and badly educated, he forged his own way through the world with sheer determination and the power of his extraordinary mind, fuelled by an intense curiosity to discover the heart and motion of everything that surrounded him. Always he questioned, ignoring the restrictions on learning instigated by the Church. How does light work? How do we see? How does blood circulate through the body? Is it possible to create truly life-like images using paint or stone? Are there unknown ways of creating such images? Can Man ever fly using some kind of apparatus - or explore the bottom of the sea, while still breathing?
Leonardo the Man: From his illegitimate birth in 1452 in the small Italian town of Vinci through his tumultuous and often dangerous years as artist and resident engineer for great princes, to his death in the arms of the French king in 1519.
Leonardo the Great Scientist and Innovator: His genius as expressed in his curiously advanced dream machines - including military tanks, aircraft, a giant crossbow & breathing equipment for divers. He also drew up elaborate blueprints for town planning, which were never implemented.
Leonardo the Heretic: Was he a devotee of a cult that upheld John the Baptist but despised Jesus and the Virgin Mary?
Leonardo's Mona Lisa and Last Supper: An examination of his most famous works, citing both the traditional view and latest research and ideas.
Leonardo the Photographer: Did he really fake the Shroud of Turin - creating essentially a photograph of his own face?
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