Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452, the illegitimate son of Ser Piero da Vinci and Caterina, at the small town of Vinci in Tuscany. As a man he had great physical strength, an immense quick intellect ~ the power to bring peace to all who knew him. Hospitable always to the deserving, a great lover of animals, the virtues he stressed forgiveness and the manly acceptance of toil. Though best known as an artist, painter and sculptor the list of list accomplishments is almost endless: scientist, astronomer, physicist, architect, military, mechanical, hydraulics engineer, mathematician, inventor, geologist, physiologist etc.
Forever seeking to understand the universal laws, to see the whole, but always beginning from the position of experience, he produced, amongst others, theorems on the composition and resolution of forces, on the principles of flight and a canon of proportions for the human body. He was dedicated to the realisation of truth. Science to him was "Knowledge of things possible in the future, of the present and in the past", and from the past he gained many valuable insights. For example in mathematics he rediscovered theorems known to the Arab Alhazen and his invention of the telescope owed much to Alhazen's work on the "glass hemisphere" or lens. His most favoured occupation was painting, to him the supreme end of knowledge, the fusion of the science of human and natural process with art. Painting which "apprehends the essential Truth" was to him the "sole initiator of everything in nature, grandchild of nature and related to God". Always seeking truth he wrote "O thou that sleepest - what is sleep? Sleep resembles death. Why then doest thou not work in such a wise that after death thou mayest attain a resemblance to perfect life, rather than during life make thyself like the hapless dead by sleeping?"