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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Leonardo DaVinci & The Basic Art of Italian Cooking

Guest Blogger: Dan Rahim

Born out of wedlock in the middle of the Renaissance one of the world’s greatest minds rose to prominence and world-wide fame. He was a man, whose genius is still being fully understood today. Not merely a painter or a scientist, he broached every field, the sciences, engineering anatomy and every possible subject imaginable. He was as broad and diverse as Italy itself. He studied all across the country from Rome to Bologna to Venice.
Leonardo da Vinci is the most iconic painter of Italy. He is perhaps the most iconic person of the entire Renaissance. Paintings like the Mona Lisa have become so ingrained in our popular culture that they do not require an explanation. A simple look at the curving smile and everything is clear. The Last Supper as well is so ubiquitous, that references are found in movies, TV and even in children’s cartoons.
But Leonardo’s talents were not restricted to these magnificent works. In fact most of his artistic endeavors are not paintings, but his sketches contained in his many journals. Many find it shocking that a man with so much talent found it difficult to focus and finish a single task. He completed only a few dozen paintings in his life time, but hundreds of smaller drawings. In fact, some of his casual sketches have gained great fame. The Vitruvian Man (the naked splayed out man) is one of the most famous drawings of all time, copied time and time again in books and movies.
The Vitruvian Man is a testament to detail in drawing. In fact Leonardo drew the man as an example of how proportions of the body should be laid out. This came from Leonardo’s great experiences as an anatomist. Leonardo actually exhumed corpses and studied and drew the bodies. He was given permission by a hospital eventually to dissect the bodies and draw the bones, muscles and organs inside them. This provided some of the best representations of the human body up to this point. Leonardo is also the first to make drawings of the fetus in various stages of development.
But besides his schemes and drawings of the human body Leonardo was very interested in the physical world as well. His engineering feats were well ahead of his time. Leonardo da Vinci came up with the concepts and designs for many things that would not be built for a few hundred years, the most famous of which include the tank, the helicopter and hydraulic pumps. His imagination was boundless and his skill was almost as vast. Leonardo made his mark on the world in many realms and is still remembered today as one of the greatest men who ever lived. And if you are interested in DaVinci's influence on food and the Mediterranean Diet, look for the upcoming release The Basic Art of Italian Cooking: DaVinci Style (release date October 2011) and follow DaVinci's travels throughout charming towns in Italy, his culinary related inventions, poetry and recipes that were influenced by his love for simplicity. Get a free pre release mini version of the book by sending an email to the publisher: