Quotations by Leonardo da Vinci


Whoever despises the high wisdom of mathematics nourishes himself on delusion and will never still the sophistic sciences whose only product is an eternal uproar.
N Rose Mathematical Maxims and Minims (Raleigh N C 1988).

Mechanics is the paradise of the mathematical sciences, because by means of it one comes to the fruits of mathematics.
Notebooks, v. 1, ch. 20.

He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.

Inequality is the cause of all local movements.

The merit of painting lies in the exactness of reproduction. Painting is a science and all sciences are based on mathematics. No human enquiry can be a science unless it pursues its path through mathematical exposition and demonstration.
Quoted in D MacHale, Comic Sections (Dublin 1993)

The function of muscle is to pull and not to push, except in the case of the genitals and the tongue.
Quoted in E MacCurdy The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci (London 1938).

Il sole no si muove
The sun does not move.

Nessuna humana investigazione si pio dimandara vera scienzia s'essa non passa per le matematiche dimonstrazione.
No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically.
Treatise on Painting

Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to Authority is not using his intelligence, he is just using his memory.

There is no higher or lower knowledge, but one only, flowing out of experimentation.

No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically.

He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

He who wishes to be rich in a day will be hanged in a day.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

There are three classes of people. Those who see; those who see when they are shown; those who do not see.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

Thou, O God, dost sell us all good things at the price of labour.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

While I thought I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die.
Quoted in Des MacHale, Wisdom (London, 2002).

Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.

The supreme misfortune is when theory outstrips performance.

You do ill if you praise, but worse if you censure, what you do not understand.


JOC/EFR February 2006

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