Why is da Vinci called the “universal man”?

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Chapter Culture and Recreation

Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519) possessed an intensely curious mind and an inventive imagination. He is known by students both for his famous works of art including The Last Supper (1495–98) and Mona Lisa (1503–05), as well as for his scientific notes and drawings dealing with matters of botany, anatomy, zoology, hydraulics, and physiology. By his own claim, he pursued scientific investigations only to make himself a better painter. Nevertheless, he clearly endeavored to understand the laws of nature. Consequently, he made a study of man, contributing to the understanding of physiology and psychology.

Leonardo da Vinci’s body of work provided the foundation of High Renaissance sculpture, painting, drawing, and architecture. As an artist-genius, da Vinci earned the epithet “universal man,” and has become a wonder of the modern world, for, as Gardner’s Art through the Ages put it, having stood at the beginning of “a new epoch like a prophet and a sage.”


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