The Genius Of Leonardo da Vinci

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Oct 302017

Artist Leonardo da Vinci produced two of the most famous paintings in history, “The Last Supper” and the “Mona Lisa.” But he was also passionate about medical discoveries and military inventions, some of which were centuries ahead of their time. Walter Isaacson, author of bestselling biographies of Steve Jobs, Albert Einstein and Benjamin Franklin, has written a new book about da Vinci, and he talks with Dr. Jon LaPook about why this Renaissance Man’s mind and curiosity were so extraordinary.






A Horse Born With Horse-Shaped Marking

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Jul 162017

This Horse Was Born With a Strange Marking That Looks Exactly Like Another Horse

Horse Born With Horse-Shaped Marking

This chestnut foal is like two horses in one. Born at Flying Hall riding school in North Yorkshire, England, “Da Vinci” has a patch near his mane that looks like the silhouette of another horse. The horse and the unusual marking came as a surprise to owner Wendy Bulmer.

“I bought his mother at a sale and didn’t know she was…[pregnant] so that was a bit of a surprise,” she told the Daily Mail. “Chestnut horses have irregular patches but they don’t normally make something as recognizable.”

Da Vinci was so named because of his artistic marking, and he also has a white heart shape on his bottom. The seven-week-old foal is friendly and much loved by Bulmer’s children.


Leonardo Da Vinci’s Mechanical Lion

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Nov 122013

In the year 1515, Giuliano de’ Medici presented the newly crowned King of France, Francois I, with a mechanical lion that walked on it own. The automata was designed by Leonardo Da Vinci, but all that is left of it is the diagrams. However, from those plans the lion was reconstructed in 2009. Watch it move, and imagine seeing this almost 500 years ago!



Why Does Mona Lisa’s Smile Change?

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May 222013

Another of Life’s Little Mysteries solved.

Why Does Mona Lisa's Smile ChangeStrolling through the Louvre, you stop at Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa. Initially, she appears to be smiling; but as you move your gaze, the expression changes — not so happy anymore.

Among the top questions baffling art enthusiasts is the elusive grin. Did da Vinci intentionally create the ambiguous appearance?

Here’s her secret: Your first stare at the legendary canvas will most likely be directly at the sitter’s eyes. At this point, the part of your eye called the fovea that picks up fine details such as color will process the image of the eyes, while your imprecise peripheral vision will pick up the image of the lips. Because peripheral vision can’t distinguish fine details, it mistakes the shadows from the sitter’s cheekbones as a smile. When you return your gaze to the lips, your fovea sees the fine details of the lips. Voila! A smile turned upside down.


The Man Who Flies Like a Bird

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Mar 222012

Using videogame controllers, an Android phone and custom-built wings, a Dutch engineer named Jarno Smeets has achieved birdlike flight.

Smeets flew like an albatross, the bird that inspired his winged-man invention, on March 18 at a park in The Hague.

“I have always dreamed about this. But after 8 months of hard work, research and testing it all payed off,” Smeets said on his YouTube page.

Smeets got the idea from sketches of a futuristic flying bicycle drawn by his grandfather, who spent much of his life designing the contraption but never actually built it.

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Woman Recreates DaVinci’s Last Supper with Laundry Lint

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Jan 172011

Michigan artist Laura Bell is a little fuzzy about the details of her portrait -The Last Supper. That’s because she used fluffy dryer lint as the medium for her take on this famous work of art.

The massive masterpiece measures 14 feet long by 4 feet tall and has been acquired by Ripley’s Believe It or Not! It will eventually go on display at one of the company’s 32 odditoriums around the world.

Bell, an amateur artist from Roscommon, Michigan, was inspired by a laundry lint portrait she saw about 10 years ago at the Ripley’s Believe It or Not! Wisconsin Dells Odditorium. In 2009, with some encouragement from her husband and a handful of lint from her dryer, she began creating The Last Supper for the ArtPrize 2010 competition in Grand Rapids, Michigan.

Bell says she spent seven months saving the lint from her own dryer, but the problem was it was usually the same color. She tried laundromat lint, but it was always shades of gray and full of dog hair.

She ended up buying towels in the colors that she wanted to use in the portrait and washed and dried them separately to get lint with just the right tint. She estimates that she spent 700-800 hours just doing laundry to get the lint she needed for The Last Supper. She says it took another 200 hours to create the portrait. All the lint in her portrait is as it came out of the dryer and has not been colored or dyed.

She says she’s been thrilled by the response from people who have seen it, and the prospect of millions more seeing it via Ripley’s. “For some people, it’s a very spiritual experience,” said Bell. “Others are simply amazed at what someone could do with basic laundry lint.”

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