Leonardo da Vinci was a genius artist and inventor who lived during the Italian Renaissance. He is credited with some of the most famous paintings in history, including the Mona Lisa. He was also an accomplished scientist, mathematician, and engineer. Da Vinci was a prolific writer, and his quotes are still relevant today.
About Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was a true renaissance man. A painter, sculptor, architect, musician, and scientist, he was one of the most brilliant minds of his time. Born in 1452 in the small town of Vinci in Italy, Leonardo showed an early interest in art and science.
He apprenticed with the renowned artist Verrocchio and created some of the most iconic works of art in history, including the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Leonardo was also a groundbreaking scientist, making important discoveries in anatomy, physics, and engineering.
His notebooks reveal a mind that was always inquisitive and curious, constantly searching for new knowledge. Although he died more than 500 years ago, Leonardo da Vinci’s legacy inspires people worldwide.
Here are the best Leonardo Da Vinci Quotes
Many historians and scholars regard Leonardo as the prime exemplar of the “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance Man,” even though he had no formal academic training. He is widely considered among the most diversely talented individuals because of his unquenchable curiosity and feverishly inventive imagination. Let’s take a look at some of his best quotes that are still relevant today:
1. “Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”― Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was a true Renaissance man, excelling in various disciplines, including painting, sculpting, architecture, and engineering. He was also a prodigious writer, and his notebooks are filled with musings on various topics.
In this quote, he compares painting and poetry, two art forms that often seem quite different. However, he argues that they share a common thread. Both convey emotions and ideas, but they do so in different ways.
Painting is more visual, focusing on the images that are seen. On the other hand, poetry is more about the evoked feelings. But despite their differences, painting, and poetry can be powerful ways of expressing the human experience.
2. “A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.”― Leonardo da Vinci
3. “Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.”― Leonardo da Vinci
4. “Study without desire spoils the memory, and it retains nothing that it takes in.”― Leonardo da Vinci
5. “It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.”― Leonardo da Vinci
6. “The painter has the Universe in his mind and hands.”― Leonardo da Vinci
7. “Nothing strengthens authority so much as silence.”― Leonardo da Vinci
8. “I love those who can smile in trouble…”― Leonardo da Vinci
9. “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery of oneself.”― Leonardo da Vinci
10. “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”― Leonardo da Vinci
11. “I have from an early age abjured the use of meat, and the time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.”― Leonardo da Vinci
In his quote, Leonardo da Vinci predicted that, eventually, people would see the killing of animals in the same light as they see the killing of humans. And he was right – today, more and more people are recognizing the inherent cruelty of animal agriculture and choosing to abstain from meat for ethical reasons.
The delicious taste of a steak or burger is no longer enough to justify the immense suffering of billions of animals every year. With plant-based alternatives becoming more and more realistic, it’s only a matter of time before humane values prevail over taste buds and Leonardo da Vinci’s vision becomes reality.
12. “Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first understood.”― Leonardo da Vinci
13. “The smallest feline is a masterpiece.”― Leonardo da Vinci
14. “Art is never finished, only abandoned.”― Leonardo da Vinci
15. “As a well spent day brings happy sleep, so life well used brings happy death.”― Leonardo da Vinci
16. “The knowledge of all things is possible”― Leonardo da Vinci
17. “The greatest deception men suffer is from their own opinions.”― Leonardo da Vinci
18. “There are three classes of people: those who see. Those who see when they are shown. Those who do not see.”― Leonardo da Vinci
19. “Principles for the Development of a Complete Mind: Study the science of art. Study the art of science. Develop your senses- especially learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”― Leonardo da Vinci
20. “I have been impressed with the urgency of doing. Knowing is not enough; we must apply. Being willing is not enough; we must do.”― Leonardo da Vinci
21. “It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end.”― Leonardo da Vinci
When we are first presented with an idea or a way of doing things, it is natural to be resistant. We are creatures of habit, and change can be difficult. However, they become more attractive as we become more familiar with new ideas. The resistance fades away, and we are eventually won over by the novelty of the situation.
22. “The deeper the feeling, the greater the pain”― Leonardo da Vinci
23. “The function of muscle is to pull and not to push, except in the case of the genitals and the tongue.”― Leonardo da Vinci
24. “I thought I was learning to live; I was only learning to die.”― Leonardo da Vinci
25. “The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look on the murder of men.”― Leonardo da Vinci
26. “The artist sees what others only catch a glimpse of.”― Leonardo da Vinci
27. “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity, and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigors of the mind.”― Leonardo da Vinci
28. “life without love, is no life at all”― Leonardo da Vinci
29. “Realize that everything connects to everything else.”― Leonardo da Vinci
30. “An average human looks without seeing, listens without hearing, touches without feeling, eats without tasting, moves without physical awareness, inhales without awareness of odour or fragrance, and talks without thinking.”― Leonardo da Vinci
31. “Time stays long enough for those who use it.”― Leonardo da Vinci
How you spend your time is up to you. You can choose to waste it, or you can choose to use it wisely. Unfortunately, time is a finite resource, and it will eventually run out. But, as long as you have time, there is always the opportunity to use it to your advantage.
After all, time stays long enough for those who use it. You just have to be willing to put in the effort. Thankfully, there are endless ways to use your time wisely. You could learn a new skill, start a new project, or simply spend more time with loved ones. No matter what you choose, make the most of your time, and it will stay long enough for you.
32. “Make your work to be in keeping with your purpose”― Leonardo da Vinci
33. “Intellectual passion drives out sensuality.”― Leonardo da Vinci
34. “Where the spirit does not work with the hand, there is no art.”― Leonardo da Vinci
35. “I have offended God and mankind because my work didn’t reach the quality it should have.”― Leonardo da Vinci
36. “All our knowledge has its origin in our perceptions”― Leonardo da Vinci
37. “Water is the driving force in nature.”― Leonardo da Vinci
38. “God sells us all things at the price of labor.”― Leonardo da Vinci
39. “Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else.”― Leonardo da Vinci
40. “All sciences are vain and full of errors that are not born of Experience, the mother of all Knowledge.”― Leonardo da Vinci
41. “A poet knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.”― Leonardo da Vinci
In addition to his artistic accomplishments, da Vinci was a great thinker and philosopher. This is evident in his many quotes, which range from insightful to humorous. The above quote is one of his famous sayings and speaks to simplicity’s power.
For da Vinci, true perfection was not achieved by adding more and more elements but rather by paring down a design to its essentials. This philosophy can be seen in his artworks, which are characterized by their graceful lines and elegant compositions. In a world that often values quantity over quality, da Vinci’s words continue reverberating centuries later.
42. “Our life is made by the death of others.”― Leonardo da Vinci
43. “I awoke only to find that the rest of the world was still asleep.”― Leonardo da Vinci
44. “Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.”― Leonardo da Vinci
45. “My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.”― Leonardo da Vinci
46. “He who thinks little errs much…”― Leonardo da Vinci
47. “Blinding ignorance does mislead us. O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!”― Leonardo da Vinci
48. “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.”― Leonardo da Vinci
49. “He who possesses most must be most afraid of loss.”― Leonardo da Vinci
50. “He who does not oppose evil……commands it to be done.”― Leonardo da Vinci
51. “Obstacles cannot crush me; every obstacle yields to stern resolve.”― Leonardo da Vinci
Throughout his life, Vinci faced many obstacles, but he always managed to overcome them through sheer determination. This quote highlights his resolve in the face of adversity. No matter what obstacles he faced, he never gave up.
He continued to push forward until he achieved his goals. This quote inspires us all to never give up, no matter how difficult things seem. We can all achieve greatness if we have the same resolve as Leonardo da Vinci.
52. “In rivers, the water that you touch is the last of what has passed and the first of that which comes; so with present time.”― Leonardo da Vinci
53. “Art is the queen of all sciences communicating knowledge to all the generations of the world.”― Leonardo da Vinci
54. “Why does the eye see more clearly when asleep than the imagination when awake?”― Leonardo da Vinci
55. “He who wishes to be rich within a day, will be hanged within a year.”― Leonardo da Vinci
56. “Marriage is like putting your hand into a bag of snakes in the hope of pulling out an eel.”― Leonardo da Vinci
57. “Wisdom is the daughter of experience”― Leonardo da Vinci
58. “Details make perfection, and perfection is not a detail.”― Leonardo da Vinci
59. “The acquisition of knowledge is always of use to the intellect, because it may thus drive out useless things and retain the good. For nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known.”― Leonardo da Vinci
60. “Anyone who conducts an argument by appealing to authority is not using his intelligence; he is just using his memory.”― Leonardo da Vinci
61. “As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.”― Leonardo da Vinci
He says that when we try to focus on too many things at once, we tax our minds and make it harder to succeed in any of our pursuits. It’s better to focus on one thing and become an expert in that area than to try to know a little bit about everything.
This is a principle that I have tried to live by in my own life, and it has served me well. By narrowing my focus and pursuing only those things that truly interest me, I have achieved a level of success that I might not have otherwise attained. We would all do well to heed Leonardo’s advice and avoid spreading ourselves too thin.
62. “The painter will produce pictures of little merit if he takes the works of others as his standard.”― Leonardo da Vinci
63. “Truth at last cannot be hidden. Dissimulation is of no avail. Dissimulation is to no purpose before so great a judge. Falsehood puts on a mask. Nothing is hidden under the sun.”― Leonardo da Vinci
64. “Men of lofty genius when they are doing the least work are most active.”― Leonardo da Vinci
65. “The mind that engages in subjects of too great variety becomes confused and weakened.”― Leonardo da Vinci
66. “He who does not punish evil, commands it to be done.”― Leonardo da Vinci
67. “He is a poor pupil who does not go beyond his master.”― Leonardo da Vinci
68. “Many have made a trade of delusions and false miracles, deceiving the stupid multitudes.”― Leonardo da Vinci
69. “If you find from your own experience that something is a fact and it contradicts what some authority has written down, then you must abandon the authority and base your reasoning on your own findings.”― Leonardo da Vinci
70. “He who truly knows has no occasion to shout.”― Leonardo da Vinci
71. “The worst evil which can befall the artist is that his work should appear good in his own eyes.”― Leonardo da Vinci
As any artist knows, the creative process is often fraught with self-doubt. It can be difficult to judge whether a work is truly successful, and it is all too easy to become attached to something that is ultimately flawed. This is why Leonardo da Vinci’s words are so important.
He recognizes that the worst thing that can happen to an artist is not failure but success in his own eyes. It is far better to strive for excellence and fall short than to settle for mediocrity. After all, it is only through failure that we learn and grow as artists.
Let’s Wind Up…
As we come to the end of our look at Leonardo da Vinci, it is clear that his brilliance was multifaceted. He was not only a great artist and scientist but also a philosopher and thinker. His quotes reflect this, as they are both insightful and inspiring.
We can learn much from him about living a full life and being creative in our work. Leonardo da Vinci was truly one of a kind, and we are lucky to have his wisdom passed down to us. What is your favorite Leonardo da Vinci quote?