Was Leonardo’s pronounced vocation for scientific research a help or a hindrance to him as an artist? It is normal to quote him as an example of scientific and artistic theory joined together. In him, genius took on a new meaning combining reason that actually reinforced the imagination and the emotions. A profound savant and an incomparable creator, he was the only man in the history of mankind who has at once delved into the most radiant beauty and who has united the science of Aristotle with the art of Phidias.
Studying nature with passion and all the independence proper to his character, Leonardo da Vinci did not fail to combine precision with liberty and truth with beauty. The master’s reason of being and glory consist in this final emancipation, this perfect mastery of modeling, of illumination, and of expression, and of this breadth and freedom. Others may have struck out new paths also, but none traveled further or mounted higher than this master of Renaissance art.