Inside the Mind of Leonardo (2013) Movie Script

-He is one of
the greatest minds ever --
Leonardo da Vinci.
His personal journals reveal
his true obsessions --
the secrets behind
his pictures...
and his fear of failure.
A new investigation
of his private notebooks
reveals the real Leonardo.

Milan, Northern Italy.

The Catholic Church has kept one
of Italy's
most precious possessions
closely guarded here
the Ambrosiana Library...
for hundreds of years.
Created in the 15th century,
at the height
of the Renaissance,
the great explosion of art
and scientific discovery,
it is the key to understanding
Leonardo da Vinci.

It explains his inventions,
which others would only
achieve centuries later.
And it reveals the truth
behind the most famous picture
of all time...
the Mona Lisa.

The real clues
to Leonardo da Vinci
lie in the Codex --
his private journals.

6,000 pages still exist.
The largest collection is here,
the Codex Atlanticus.

Just one page can be worth
several million dollars.

For the first time, we've been
able to take cameras
into the underground vault
and film the Codex.

Leonardo wrote the Codex
from right to left in a script
only he and a few
of his pupils could understand.
-This way of writing
is called mirrored writing
because, if you take a mirror
and place it on the side
of the writings, you can read it
as it were plain writing.
He did that because
he was left-handed.
And as I am myself left-handed,
I also began, as a pupil,
to write from right to left.
But because also he wanted
to preserve his research,
his secrets,
so he was very careful to hide
as much as possible
what he was studying.
-Care was required in part
because Leonardo's journals
contain ideas
which the 15th century Church
would have considered
as bordering on heresy.
-He was a controversial mind.
-These journals are so precious
to Leonardo,
he spends more time
on them than painting.
He writes an average
of three pages
a day throughout his adult life.
He is obsessed with everything.
Engineering, geology,
biology, and anatomy.
-Leonardo was an artist,
a very great artist,
but painting
was not a goal for him.
was just a tool for him.

-Within its 1,119 pages,
the Codex Atlanticus
also holds clues
to what Leonardo
was like as a man.
-Something of a dandy.
He wore rose pink tunics
and jasper rings
and boots of Cordova leather
and snazzy cloaks.
-There are all sorts
of little memoranda
in his notebooks saying,
"Ask so and so about this."
I suspect if Leonardo came
to dinner,
you would groan and think,
"Oh, no, I'm going to be given
a real quizzing here
about everything I know."
-And the notebooks lay bare
the tension
at the heart of his character --
a genius haunted
by fear of failure.
-What is fair
in men doesn't last.
Old age creeps up on you.
Nothing is more fleeting
than the years of a man's life.
But there is time enough for
those who know how to use it.
What's the point in passing
from the Earth unnoticed?
A man who doesn't become famous
is no more than woodsmoke
on the wind or foam
upon the sea.
But I intend to leave
a memory of myself
in the minds of others.
Leonardo da Vinci,
disciple of experience.

-Leonardo was born on the 15th
of April, 1452, near Vinci,
in the hills west of Florence.
And this rural upbringing
would shape the direction
of his whole life,
his inventions
and his paintings.
His father was a powerful notary
in Florence.
But Leonardo was illegitimate
and brought up
by his grandfather.
He never mastered Latin,
the language used for all
academic research at the time.
-The standard academic language
at the time was still Latin,
and the Leonardo we know
just from the Atlantic Code
never succeeded
in learning fluently Latin,
so he hadn't access
to the scientific books
of the time.
-Leonardo rather sardonically
described himself
as an unlettered man,
an illiterate man.
What he meant was he hadn't
had a university
or even a proper
schooling education.
-In the Codex, in his own words,
he defends himself
with surprising venom.
-Educated men will look
at what I do
and say that it is useless work.
But the words they breathe
from their mouths
are as wise as the wind
they fart from their arses.
-He refuses to let his lack of
academic studies
stand in his way.
He develops what was
a revolutionary method
of thinking.
He looks for answers not just
from the books of antiquity
or the words of the Bible,
but from the natural world,
the countryside of his birth.
-Leonardo is interested
in anything he can see,
touch, smell, taste.
He's a very concrete person.
So if he looks at something,
he will say,
why does it look like that,
how does it work?

-Knowledge begins with
sensation, with experience.
It does not begin
with the study of Latin!
I, who have no Latin, say that
knowledge begins with love.
Nature must be our guide.
If you look anywhere
but in nature,
believe me,
you are wasting your time.
Nature begins with a cause
and ends with an experience.
So begin with the experience,
and investigate the cause.

The things that
are farthest away --
mountains, for instance --
appear blue
when the sun is in the east.
They are almost the same color
as the atmosphere.
They are not, as some people
paint them,
green -- they are blue.
And I believe that that blue
is not the actual color
of the mountains.
That is the color of the effect
of the sun's rays
on water vapor.

-He thought that a painter
had to look at nature,
to study nature
and to try to understand
the laws of nature,
and once he understood that,
he would be able to recreate
"nature" in his work.

-But his obsession
with knowledge went much further
than learning techniques
for painting.
He questions everything he sees,
from the blue of the sky
to life on the street.
-Describe dogs.

Why do they sniff each other?
Maybe dogs despise the poor --
they can tell they eat bad food.
A dog loves a rich man --
a rich man has good meat.
And as the excrement
of all animals
retains some trace of the food
they've eaten,
and as dogs have
such a keen sense of smell,
they can tell by sniffing
the other dogs arse
if he is well fed
or miserably fed.
-From the mundane to
the profound,
Leonardo was curious.
-He called himself
a "painter philosopher."
And philosophy, for him,
meant sort of figuring out
how the world worked.
-He contributed to the collapse
of the old natural philosophy
and he showed the way
and the tools
that will take Galileo,
later on Newton,
to rebuild a different general
interpretation of nature.
-Leonardo's radical thinking
would lead him
to be a pioneer of science
and of art.
But what is truly revolutionary
is how he brings science
and art together.

This is Leonardo da Vinci's
earliest known drawing,
now in the Uffizi museum
in Florence.
A sketch showing
the Arno Valley,
an area in Tuscany
he had known since childhood.
The focus of the drawing
is a great waterfall.

-Water is, for Leonardo,
the origin of life
and interested him
throughout his career.
Because he found in water
the power
that moved everything in life.

-What is water?
Water is a continuous quantity.
It flows from the sea
to the rivers,
and from the rivers to the sea.
Water surges, it plunges,
it bubbles, it gushes!
It spurts, it streams, it drips!
It murmurs and gurgles
and crashes and bangs!
-Leonardo discovers
the spiral shapes of water,
and it leads him
to a revolutionary
and controversial idea
for the time.
-Describe the motion of water.
The motion of water is like...
It seems to have two kinds
of movement --
one responding to the weight
of the strand of hair,
and the other
to the direction of its curls.

-If he's looking at these
spiraling forms,
he'll think about
how do the leaves
come out of plants in spirals.
He will think about all these
other configurations
which have the same
what we would call
pattern of energy in them,
the lines of force,
as he thinks of them.
-It's amazing.
Nature is amazing.
Water is a continuous quantity.
Motion is the cause of all life,
and the law of necessity
makes every effect
the direct result of its cause.
And by the shortest route.
This is the supreme
rule of nature.
-He's searching for some
underlying pattern,
some underlying structure,
the rules.
-Leonardo concludes the Earth
has undergone vast changes
since the creation
by the process of erosion,
as spirals of water
cut through rock.
At the time, people believed
the Earth was unchanged
since God had made it
in seven days.
-It turns around and around,
making whirling eddies
that eat away at whatever
stands in their path!
They'll excavate great chasms
in the Earth!
They'll make havoc
of the river's course,
and in the end,
they'll change it.

-He began to look
at the Arno Valley,
and he realized that it had
undergone vast changes,
that it had cut through
stratas of rock
in the bases of mountains
and so on.
And he decided
that the prehistoric
landscape was quite different.
-And all these rivers
made of melting snow and rain
and hail and ice merge
and turn into larger rivers,
getting bigger and stronger
as they flow on,
cutting away at one bank
and building up the other,
until they form valleys
and ravines and mountains!

-But this discovery
was explosive at the time
because it challenges the belief
of the absolute authority
of 15th century Italy --
the Church.

In the dome
of Florence Cathedral
there is a representation
of Heaven and Hell
on Judgment Day
by painter Giorgio Vasari.

The Church taught that,
although life on Earth
was full of suffering,
it was, for the pious,
only a prelude to eternal life
in Heaven.

But according to
the Book of Revelations
in the Bible,
sinners and nonbelievers
would be banished to Hell.

-The Church is powerful
at this time in two ways.
One is via the Pope, who is
a prince, a military leader.
He was very warlike.
The Prince of the Church,
which of course claims
jurisdiction over the whole
of Europe in spiritual terms.
The Church permeated every
aspect of everyone's life.

[ Thunder crashes ]
-Leonardo's doubts about
the biblical version of
how God created the Earth
would have been considered
heresy by the church.
-In 15th century Italy,
there are always these sort of
fault lines where the pressure
of scientific investigation
runs up against and chaffs
against the pressure of
religious conservatism.
And Leonardo was certainly
right there at that fault line,
in fact he was busy
sort of enlarging it
or often creating it.
-Leonardo raises more doubts
in his notebooks
about the biblical account
of the flood.
-On one hand,
explaining what's happening
in the body of the Earth,
you've got a biblical
the deluge, the 40 days
and 40 nights when Noah's Ark
saved all these living creatures
and saved humanity.
And on the other hand, you've
got Leonardo's observation
about the great geological
which went on
over countless years.

[ Thunder rumbling ]
-What is water?

Water is a continuous quantity.
But the Bible says, does it not,
that for 40 days
and 40 nights,
there was incessant rain,
and the rain was universal.
And, so, at the time of Noah,
there was a great flood,
and the waters rose
above the highest mountains.
And when it says "universal,"
it means it covered the globe.
But then, the Bible says,
150 days later, the waters
started to recede.
[ Scoffs ]
That's impossible.
Because --
Because water cannot
move unless it falls.
The flood covered the globe.
It had nowhere to go to!
-Of course, had those theories
been published,
and saying that the Earth had
undergone these vast changes,
they would have been seen
as pretty explosive.
-Every innovative thinker
at the end of the 15th century,
but also in the 16th
and 17th century,
would have been in
a very dangerous position
questioning important theories
that were suggested
by the holy text.
-Leonardo's ideas may have been
at odds
with the Church's teaching,
but he kept them private
in his notebooks.
In public, he made
a show of faith.
-We know that he attended
not only the Mass
but also voluntary
meeting of prayer.
And, so, we cannot say that it
was totally against the Church.
He was a man who were used
to read also the Bible
with a scientific mentality,
with a scientific mind.
But probably he didn't want
to start a conflict
with the Church authorities.
-Leonardo's obsession
with keeping the Codex
private goes beyond concerns
over the Church.
He also wants to keep secret
his inventions
that could bring fame
and fortune.
Today, Leonardo is most famous
as the painter of the Mona Lisa.
But his private journals
reveal, for much of his life,
his ambitions are
in quite different areas.
One of them is to be a brilliant
and famous engineer.
In his teens, Leonardo moves
from the countryside
to the heart
of the Renaissance -- Florence.
was a city of opportunity,
rich with money generated
by banking families
like the Medici,
a city of 400
artisan workshops,
six times as many as butchers.
In his writings in the Codex,
Leonardo makes abundantly
clear his burning ambition
to be special.
To be a celebrity,
not just in his own lifetime,
but to be famous forever.
But how to get immortal fame?
Painting is now seen
as the greatest achievement
of the Renaissance,
but at the time, painters
were not society's superstars.
Engineers and architects were.
-Leonardo certainly believed
that true fame lay
in the realms of technology
and big engineering projects
rather than in painting colors
on bits of wood.

-What's the point of passing
from the Earth unnoticed?
A man who does not become famous
is no more than woodsmoke
on the wind
or foam upon the sea.
I intend to leave some memory
of myself in the mind of others.

-As a young apprentice
in Florence, the evidence
of how to achieve fame
was right in front of Leonardo.

Florence Cathedral.
-Still fantastic, you know,
and you walk down
one of these narrow streets,
and there's this wonderful
swelling structure.

-Built in 1436, the 37,000-ton
dome of the cathedral
had been constructed entirely
without central supports.
Its engineer-architect,
Filippo Brunelleschi,
had achieved a fame and status
the young Leonardo
could only dream of.

-Brunelleschi was, in his
epitaph in Florence Cathedral,
was called a "divino ingenio,"
a "divine genius."
These people who did
the big structures
were great citizens
and great heroes
of the Florentine Republic.
[ Bells ringing ]
-When Leonardo arrives here
in the late 1460s,
there remains one final touch
to complete
Brunelleschi's masterpiece.
The giant two-ton golden orb
and cross is to be placed
350 feet on top of the dome.
And Leonardo lands
an apprenticeship
with Andrea del Verrocchio,
the man responsible
for this extraordinary feat
of engineering.
-If I think of Leonardo
in his early years in Florence,
I think of him up there
at the top
of the dome
of Florence Cathedral
with this wonderful vision of
the city spread out below him,
this wonderful sense of
the sort of magic of technology
that could get
this copper orb up there.

-From the notebooks, it is clear
that Leonardo is inspired
by Brunelleschi's machines... create a lifetime's
worth of fantastic designs...
...which pioneer a whole new
world of engineering.

-It was a very
revolutionary moment.
He went on to create
new machines
that were able to perform
in automatic way.
This is the distinctive feature
of Leonardo's attitude
to technology -- automation.
-Leonardo is on a quest
to invent machines
that alleviate the workload
for men and animals.
But the world would have to wait
for the Industrial Revolution,
over two
and a half centuries later,
for some of Leonardo's most
famous visions to materialize.

He devised
a self-propelled cart,
often described
as the world's first car.
An automatic loom
with flying shuttle,
an invention patented
by John Kay in the 18th Century.
An automatic panel beater,
water pumps,
even a machine
for perpetual motion,
which would generate
never-ending energy.
And the world's first
self-propelled rotisserie
for roasting beef.
-My favorite page
of the Codex Atlanticus
is that one which shows
a grill spit,
a mechanical spit
which was like an helicopter,
where the smoke
and the hot air
was able to make
the mechanism turn around,
and in this way,
turn also the beef
which was to be roasted.
-You get these amazing views
of machines as solid objects,
and you can see them
as a kind of complete structure.
And then, he'll pull out a bit
of the machinery
and say that's how that works.
He will do a cutaway bit of
the machinery, which is unique.
He could explode something,
that's to say he'd pull
the machinery apart.
-He was transferring techniques
that were traditional
in sculpture,
in architecture, mainly,
and in painting.

So he developed this fantastic
science of drawing machines
that is totally innovative.
Nobody had made portraits
of machines before Leonardo.

-But how could Leonardo surpass
Brunelleschi's achievement?
There was one challenge
that had defied man's ingenuity
since classical times.
Human flight.
-What greater challenge
could there be?
Brunelleschi had got us up
350 feet
above the pavements of Florence,
and that was pretty amazing,
but how much higher Leonardo
wanted to get us.
-So, if a man had large
enough wings,
and they were properly attached,
perhaps a man could overcome
the resistance of the air,
push himself
up off the ground, and fly.

And the man who designed this
would be famous far and wide.

-Leonardo Da Vinci lived
to be 67 years old.
Throughout his life,
there's one way
he wants to make his mark
and be remembered.

-My earliest memory --
I am lying in my cradle
when a bird of prey
flies down
and opens my mouth
with its tail
and pushes its feathers
between my lips.
I think it's my destiny
to study great birds.
-In pages of a codex
now in Madrid,
we see how Leonardo
makes an intellectual leap.
He realizes water behaves
like air.
It provides him
with practical knowledge
on how to generate lift
and reveals an extraordinary
understanding of a subject
which still
puzzles experts today.
-And you know, when you stand
in deep water
and you extend your arms,
you know how, if you
let them fall naturally,
they slip slowly down
to your side
and you remain
where you are?
Well, what if you pump them
up and down?
You will move upwards.
You will be flying
through the water.
And a bird beating its wings
against the air
makes its body move
in exactly the same way.

-Leonardo brings his
two obsessions --
nature and engineering --
-He had understood very early
that swimming
and flying were
very similar things.
There is a statement
in which he says to himself,
"Observe the swimming of fish,
and you will get
the secrets of flying."

-In our dreams,
we fly up into the sky.
In the midst of darkness,
we see wonders.
We fall from great heights
without harm.
All this in dreams.
-His fascination
with human flight
would certainly come
under the category
of the big technological advance
that would make
his name forever.

-If he's thinking about
how does a bird fly,
he'll think about how does
the wing shape work
with the currents of air,
what happens with the vortices
underneath the wings,
how do they work?

-What's a bird?
What is it?
Well, it's an instrument,
isn't it?
An instrument that works
according to mathematical laws.
And it should be within
the power of man
to make such an instrument,
to emulate its motion.
-The hand of the wing
gives the bird impetus,
while the elbow creates
a wedge of air,
which gives lift.
To use their wings,
the birds require
very powerful bones and tendons.
A man does not have this.
So a man's muscles
must be adapted
to match those of a bird's.
Adapted muscles --
transference of power.
-What he's doing, in a sense,
is remaking a bird in terms
that he regards as feasible
given a human operator of it.
Initially, he thinks of it being
as closer to a bird,
I think,
with much more flapping.
-But he realizes that
feathered wings
may not be the easiest way
for man to replicate flight.
-So, actually, a flying machine
should be modelled on a bat,
because a bat's membranes
form a web, an impervious web,
within the framework
of the wings.
-He, in fact, weighed
the bat wing
and the feathered wings
of an eagle
and found that the bat wings
could lift heavier objects.
-To test the wings,
I'll make one out of paper...
...mounted on a structure
of net and cane.
Then I'll attach it to a plank
weighing 150 pounds.
And I'll apply a sudden force.
Like so.
If the plank lifts before
the wing comes back down,
well, then, it's going to work!
-This approach fails.
Leonardo tries a new idea --
-Leonardo realizes that
this kind of approach
cannot lead him anywhere,
so he tried again to study
from the beginning,
and, so, his later studies
may be less interesting
in the effect of machines
but are very modern.
-Leonardo's designs, including
the so-called helicopter,
have now been brought to life.
But it is doubtful that they
ever got off the page
and into the air
in his lifetime.

-Although he never abandons
the flapping design machines,
he also begins to think
very carefully
about what we would think of
as hang gliders or gliders
with small
navigational adjustments
that could be launched
from a hill.
And he talks about it
being launched from a hill
near Fiesole over Florence,
and a wonderful vision
of his flying machine
spiraling down to the dome,
as it were.
-When the great bird
takes its first flight,
it will amaze the universe,
fill the chronicles
with its fame,
and bring eternal glory
to the nest where it was born.
Maybe the machine should first
be tested over a lake,
and you should have
lashed around yourself
some inflated wineskins.
That way, if you crashed into
the lake, you wouldn't drown.
-He had to be very careful
because the dividing line
between technology and magic,
and then the dividing line
between good magic
and diabolical magic
were very difficult
to maintain.
It was difficult
not to cross over.
-Witchcraft or necromancy --
employing evil forces
for your own good --
was punishable by death.
And Leonardo is busy
pushing the boundaries
of normal human capabilities.
-Leonardo is, in a sense,
a proponent of natural magic.
He's using the laws of nature
to make something wonderful.
He hated ideas of astrology,
he hated necromancers
and all these purveyors
of mystic truths and so on.
-Witchcraft is obviously absurd.
Necromancy is for idiots.
Nobody can conjure up spirits
and make them fly
through the air!
But if they could, think how
important for mankind...
and think how unstoppable
such a craftsman would be.
What could he not do?
Well, he could not escape death.
Old age, decrepitude, and death.
That, he could not do.
But everything else...
Oh, I will leave a memory of
myself in the mind of others.

[ Bells ringing ]
-Leonardo da Vinci's private
notebooks are filled
with drawings and ruminations
that reveal his brilliance,
but there are no diary-style
However, there's a series
of strange parables,
tales Leonardo probably
used to entertain others,
but they hold a fascinating
psychological subtext
which hint at Leonardo's
true feelings.
-The more one looks
into Leonardo's life,
and particularly into
his earlier life,
his first years of independence
in Florence,
there's a lot
of difficulties there,
and there's also a sense
of Leonardo
was a man who isn't quite
marching to the same drummer.
He's a bit of a misfit.
-One of the most
powerful parables
seems to relate
to the difficulty
which Leonardo has
moving to the city
from the countryside.
The parable is about a lonely
stone which lives among flowers
but wants to move to be
with the other stones
down on a rocky road.

-So one day,
it rolled down the hill
and nestled up
among the other stones.
But what the stone found was
that the wheels of the carts
and the hooves of the horses
and, of course,
the boots of the men
would grind it down,
crush it, cause it hardship.
it would lift itself up
only to be shat upon by some
animal, splattered with mud.
It gazed up in vain at the place
it had left...
...the lovely tranquil grove,
the pretty flowers,
a peaceful place of happiness.
So this is what happens to those
who choose to leave a life
of solitude and contemplation
and come to live in the cities,
among people
of infinite wickedness.

-So why does Leonardo become
so disillusioned
with other people?
It is a journey which starts
with the optimism
and success of his days
as an apprentice
in Verrocchio's workshop.

-It was a workshop
in the real sense.
There were casting activities,
there were hammering,
there were machines.
And, so, a young artist like --
a talented young artist
like Leonardo
was immediately faced
with a combination between
art, science, and technology.
-The Verrocchio workshop where
he was enrolled in the mid-1460s
was the preeminent
workshop of the day.
And they had this tremendous
sort of teaching mission,
as it were.
The workshops were not just
studios or botteghe,
producing a range
of artistic goods --
paintings, sculptures, bells --
but they were also schools.
-Leonardo and the other
lived with their master,
who provided them with food
and clothes.
-Verrocchio's studio,
it was like moving into a cross
between a high level
craft school
and a kind of residential place
where you had a kind of
surrogate father.
-Leonardo was taught painting
and drawing techniques
and soon showed a great talent
for silverpoint.
-He uses silverpoint
because it's the most accurate
material that he has.
It's a material that
is very unforgiving
but also very exacting.
Silverpoint itself is
a metal, obviously.
The silver,
when you drag it over,
gives a very good line,
very exact.
You can get nice shadows.
But the problem is that
you cannot erase it.
The most unique thing about
Leonardo's technique
is that he was a very skilled
observer of nature
and even more skilled in having
his hand follow his eye.
Now, this is perfect
'cause silverpoint
is extremely precise.
So it's a nice mesh
of his observation,
the skill of his hand,
and the material.
His silverpoint drawings
are considered
some of the finest
drawings ever produced
by any master
in the Renaissance.
And they really are.

-Many people would love
to learn how to draw.
Many people enjoy drawing.
Many even have an aptitude
for it.
But they don't persevere.
They draw everything in a hurry,
like little boys,
with no shading, no finishing.
-Leonardo was so exceptional
that Verrocchio asked him
to paint an angel
on an important commission,
The Baptism of Christ.
-In the Baptism in the Uffizi,
there are kind of two styles
of painting,
to put it slightly crudely.
There is a very sculptural,
muscular kind of painting
where everything
is drawn out very carefully.
And then, there's a hand,
most certainly Leonardo's,
which is more about what things
look like on the surface.
How does light work?
Not just saying this
is a sculptural body,
but how does light work on hair?
How does it work
in the landscape?

-Legend has it that Verrocchio
never touched
a paintbrush again,
after he'd been outdone
by his young pupil.
-As an artist, you must stand
back and judge what you've done.
It is only when your judgement
damns the work you have done
that it's likely to be any good.
It would be a poor disciple who
didn't try to outdo his master.

-Alongside the brilliant
drawings there
are scribbled notes
scattered through the Codex.
-Must buy mushrooms,
apples, bread, cheese,
towels, shoes,
four pairs of hose,
and a jerkin.

-His thoughts also turn to sex.
-Describe lust.

What is lust?
-The journals are notable
for their lack of clues
to his sexual orientation,
but Leonardo does not marry,
and his closest companions
are male.
-If I had to make a tentative
deduction about his sexuality
I would say it probably
was predominantly homosexual.

-There's a part of my body
that seems to have
an intelligence of its own,
quite separate
from my own intelligence.
Whether I'm asleep or awake,
it does as it pleases.
Sometimes I'm asleep
and it's awake.
Sometimes I'm awake
and it's asleep.
Sometimes it stirs on its own
without my permission.
It's nothing to be ashamed of.

Without lust, there would be
no procreation...

...because the act
of procreation
and everything associated
with it is so disgusting
that, if there were
no pretty faces or soft bodies,
humankind would soon die out.

-Although homosexuality
was common among artists
in Renaissance Florence,
it was, in theory,
a crime punishable by death.
In 1476, when Leonardo is 24,
he is accused of sodomizing
a 17-year-old boy
called Jacopo Saltarelli.
Leonardo had been denounced
in an anonymous letter
posted in one of Florence's
"holes of truth"
and passed to
the Florentine police.
-The whole episode of
Leonardo's brush
with the officers of the night,
as they were called,
which is essentially
the Florentine vice squad,
is very interesting
and very revealing, I think.
It shows that, suddenly,
the forces of law
and order
could suddenly fall on you,
and dire consequences
could ensue.
So it contributes to a sense
of his vulnerability.

[ Thunder rumbles ]

-There are some people
in the world
who do nothing more than
turn food into excrement.
That's all.
They are solely
conduits for shit.
They produce nothing of value.
Animals do not discourse,
but what they communicate
is useful and true.
And a small truth is better
than a great big lie.

You can tell a lot
about a man from his face.
You can tell his vices
and his appetites.

Those whose facial features
have great depth
and strong relief,
they are bestial, angry men.
Men of little reason.

-The case against Leonardo
is dropped.
But some think Leonardo spends
time in custody.
Among the pages
from the Codex Atlanticus,
there is one machine
to break through a prison wall.

sets up his own studio,
and he gets his first
public commission in 1478.
Leonardo is only 26 years old.
Then, aged 29,
a huge undertaking --
the altarpiece for a monastery,
The Adoration of the Magi,
his biggest project to date.
-Adorations of the kings
were glorious
processional subjects.
Leonardo turns it into something
earth-shattering and turbulent.
All the figures' reactions,
all these people
holding up their hands
and looking in wonder
and pointing to the heaven
and so on,
and this cacophony of reaction
in that picture
is absolutely new.
It affected
the younger artists,
it affected his fellow artists,
but they must have known
there was a kind of force
of nature in their presence.
-It is believed that Leonardo
paints himself
into the picture looking out.
But this extraordinary painting
is never completed.
Leonardo's troubles continue.
He is financially struggling
and he is still dogged
by scandal --
one of his own pupils
is arrested for
what is called "wickedness."
-He left paintings unfinished,
major paintings.
It seems to suggest he was in
a kind of emotional difficulty,
a sense of frustration,
a sense of escape.
-In 1481
Leonardo left Florence,
a journey that,
at the time and age,
would have taken a week
to complete by horse,
the equivalent of moving
to another country.
-But there is no obstacle
that will stand in my way.
I am Leonardo da Vinci,
disciple of experience.
And I am patient.
Patience protects me
from insults,
as warm clothes
protect me from cold.
When it gets colder,
I put on more clothes.
When these bastards abuse me,
I become more patient.
-At the age of 30,
Leonardo's writing of his
notebooks moves into overdrive.
At this point, he moves from
Florence to Milan
to pursue new avenues
for his genius.
-To travel from Florence
to Milan
was, in a sense,
to move country.
The language was different,
the coinage was different,
the whole mood was different,
the light was different.
-Many of his interests
could not be satisfied
in a city like Florence,
that was more platonic, so fine
in this idea of beauty, in art.
And in Milan, he knew that even
if the city was less
sophisticated, there were
a lot of opportunities.
-The man who the year before
painted a masterpiece now
says he wants to build weapons.
In the vaults of
the Ambrosiana Library in Milan,
among the 1,000 pages
of Leonardo's private journal,
there's one page that stands out
because it's not
in Leonardo's hand.
It's a sales pitch to win work
from Milan's ruler.
-Most probably,
Leonardo had this letter
written by a professional writer
and he had given him ideas
and the sentences
he wanted to be written,
but the letter is written
in an Italian much more cared
than Leonardo himself
was able to do.
-The letter
is for Ludovico Sforza
the notorious Duke of Milan.
Sforza had overthrown --
and possibly assassinated --
his nephew and installed himself
in the Sforza Castle.
He had made Milan
one of the most powerful
city-states in Europe,
both in commerce
and military strength.
-Really rich, the richest city
in Italy after Venice.
It was ruled
by the Sforza family.
-What Leonardo was also
looking for
when he went to Milan was
a strong, rich, generous patron.
-Most illustrious Lord, I beg
leave to present myself to you
and to discover
to Your Excellence
my secrets of war.
I have new types of cannon,
lightweight and portable,
which will hurl out
a hailstorm of missiles.
-I think it's probably
a shrewd pitch
because, ultimately, war is more
important than works of art.
-I have designs for very light,
strong, and portable bridges,
with which you can
attack the enemy, or --
if occasion demands --
retreat from them.
I also have others
which are indestructible
by fire and by warfare
and can be very easily
moved into position.
I also have devices
which can destroy
the bridges of the enemy.
If you cannot advance
when besieging a stronghold,
or if the fortress
is stoutly defended,
I have the means
to destroy it utterly.
And I have smoke machines
that will sow fear
and confusion
in the enemy's ranks.
And I have armored vehicles
which will penetrate
the enemy lines
and which cannot be stopped
by any body of men!
You send these forward,
Your Excellence,
and then you follow up
with the infantry,
who will be protected
by my machines.
-Leonardo, in his first years
here in Milan, studied
so many different weapons.
It's in the way
and with the purpose
of make illustration.
He used the drawing in such
a modern way
to describe these weapons
from the cited chariots
to the crossbows,
to the ballista.
-Many of Leonardo's earliest
entries in the Codex Atlanticus
feature designs
for fantastic weapons,
like his giant
24-meter-wide crossbows
that would send missiles
at bullet-like speeds
through fortress walls.
-And I can make mortars,
light ordnance
of great functionality
and great beauty, too.
They are unlike any weapons
you have ever seen.

-There are hundreds of designs
for weaponry.
Machines for killing or slicing
fellow human beings
in the most brutal
and barbaric way.
-It offered him a chance
to exploit power.
He's interested in how a source
of power can be magnified
and turned into
something wonderful.
And if you're looking
for big investment
in machinery and power,
it's war.
That's where
the big investment was,
that's where the big discoveries
were to be made.
-There is no evidence
his giant weapons are made.
Later, he does briefly work
as a military engineer
for the Borgia.
But although Leonardo loves the
idea of these killing machines,
the Codex reveals he despises
the reality of war.
-There's a great
ambiguity there.
Alongside this invention
of what we call weapons
of mass destruction,
there are very heartfelt
statements about war
which suggest
that he was appalled by it.
He calls war
"beastly madness" at one point.
-I have many splendid
instruments of war.
This is how you swim underwater.
Take the intestinal sack of
an animal, empty it, and dry it.
When you deflate it,
you'll sink to the bottom,
dragged down by sandbags.
When you inflate it again,
you'll rise to the surface.
Make a mask with eyes of glass,
but not too heavy to wear
while you're swimming.
But I'm not going to publish
my method
for remaining alive underwater.
There are evil men in the world,
and they'll only use it
for underwater assassinations,
for sinking ships,
for killing other men.
So I shall keep my secrets.
-The sales pitch
for Ludovico Sforza
is not exclusively
about military weapons.
Leonardo also boasts that he is
the man to deliver Ludovico's
most ambitious
artistic commission --
the biggest equestrian bronze
statue in history.
-I am the man you need
for your equestrian statue.
I am ready to begin work at once
on the great bronze horse,
built to the eternal honor
and the immortal glory
of his lordship, your father,
and the illustrious house
of Sforza.
Look at them go...
...simple and composed force.
-1491, aged 39,
Leonardo begins a new notebook
devoted to the cavallo,
or horse.
He obsessively records in minute
detail everything about them.
More than 500 years later,
we can begin to understand
his obsession.
-Begin with the experience.
Signor Mariolo has a filly
with a fine neck
and a beautiful head.
And, look, that stallion
that the falconer owns,
he has fantastic hindquarters.
-Leonardo starts
the new notebook
after he finally secures the job
to build an enormous statue
for the powerful ruler
of Milan, Ludovico Sforza.
It will be a horse
of epic proportions.
If he succeeds, Leonardo will
get the fame he so desires.
-The equestrian monument
to Ludovico's father,
Francesco Sforza, the biggest
bronze horse ever made,
including classical antiquity,
yeah, it's a big pitch for fame.

-When fortune comes along,
you must grab her by the hair.
But from the front,
not the back,
because she's bald at the back.
The great bronze horse
is under construction.
I must record everything.
-Having been commissioned to do
the great equestrian monument,
he does what he
characteristically does,
he tries to research
everything about horses,
proportions, measuring them.
There are all these minute
measurements of the horses,
of their hocks
and all the bits of their body.
It's rather nice to think
of Leonardo
in a stable
with his tape measure.
-The Sforza horse certainly
did combine the two aspects
of Leonardo
which we think of as primary,
the artist and the engineer.
He began, as he begins
with all his projects,
with drawings on paper.
That was always his way
of defining things.
He saw with his eye
and he saw with his hand.
-A huge equestrian statue
requires great labor,
it demands great ability
from its creator
and great study, too.
-He made a full-scale
clay model for this great horse
which was probably
three times life size.
We don't know whether the rider
was on it
or whether it was
just the horse at this stage.
But it was regarded
as absolutely amazing.
-Making the statue
will be laborious and dangerous.
Now, the tin should be added
to the copper
when the copper has changed
to a fluid state.
Do not let the bronze run
to the front of the hind leg.
That is what will happen
if you cast it upside down.
Once I've got the right type
of furnace
for the fusion of the metal,
I'll need to get a number
of furnaces of the same type
and run them all concurrently.
This will speed everything up.
These pieces belong to the mold
of the head and the neck.
The muzzle needs a piece
to be fastened on both sides,
with two molded pieces for
the upper parts of the cheeks.

On this day,
the 20th of December,
I have decided that the horse
should be cast without its tail.
First, alloy part of the metal
in a crucible,
then place it into the furnace.
As it's already in
a molten state,
it will activate the melting
of the copper.

[ Men shouting,
swords clashing ]

-In 1494, Leonardo's dreams
of finally achieving fame
and recognition with his
huge sculpture were killed.
The French invaded,
and the 75 tons of bronze
earmarked for casting the horse
was reassigned
to make cannons instead.

-He must have felt frustration
that all this work,
this great effort
and this great sculptural claim
to fame disappeared.
There's a letter late
in the Duke's reign,
shortly before he was ousted
by the French,
which is a rather rare little
bit of kind of personal insight
as to how Leonardo felt.
-Compared to a great horse,
I tell you, cannon are easy.
Of the horse,
I will say nothing.
But I know what
the world is like --
they would rather have cannon.

-The horse would be forgotten
for centuries.
Outside the Milan race course
is a modern day replica
of what Leonardo had planned,
without its rider.
The replica --
which is hollow inside --
still took almost three years
and involved 60 craftsmen,
even using modern
forging techniques.

-But lying about in bed
never brought anyone fame.
You've got to get up and work.
-Leonardo's obsession
with proportions
was not restricted to the horse.
In the Codex, there are details
which show an obsession
with human proportions,
and this obsession
would lead, ultimately,
to the most famous
drawing in the world.
A new study of Leonardo's
private notebooks highlights
that, during his time
in Milan, Leonardo's writings
become full of calculations,
geometrical drawings,
and puzzles.
At first, they may
seem nonsensical...
-Now, proportion is found,
not only in numbers
and measures,
but in sounds and weights,
droplets of rain...
[ Overlapping speech ]
-...but out of these thoughts
will finally come one
of his greatest works.
-Mathematics shapes everything.
I must observe people carefully.
-Leonardo's fascination
with mathematics
and geometry was to find
some kind of laws and rules.
A structure below
the chaotic structure of life.
-Why is a face beautiful?
It's to do with
the divine proportion
of its constituent parts.
And every part must be
in proportion to the whole.
-Leonardo had acquired a notion
that the proportions
of the body,
in a sense, were a kind of
divine visual music
and that these proportional
harmonies worked
through the whole
of the universe.
-The eyes, the eyebrows,
the nostrils,
the corners of the mouth,
the sides of the chin,
the jaws and the ears,
they all must be set
squarely upon the face.
The space from the chin
to the base of the nose
is the third part of the face,
and it's equal to the length
of the nose and to the forehead.
The distance from the middle
of the nose
to the bottom of the chin
is half the length of the face.
What is a nose?
Describe it.
There are ten types of nose --
straight, bulbous,
hollow, pointed, prominent above
or below the middle,
flat, round,
or regular.
You must draw these things
from nature
and then fix them in your mind.
I calculate that the space
between the parting of the lips
to the top of the chin
is 1/3 of the distance
between the parting of the lips
and the bottom of the chin.
And this is 1/12
of the face.
From the top of the chin
to the bottom of the chin
is 1/6 of the face
and 1/54 of a man's height.
A, B, C are equal.
S, R, A, C
are equal or similar.
T, F, and L are similar.
Now, if a bird is 2 pounds
and its breast is 1/3
of its wing length,
the wings feel only 2/3
of the bird's weight.

A cow has a bust three times
the length of that of a woman,
therefore, multiplied
cubically body by body,
that's 3 times 9 equals 27.
Then a cow's body should be
27 times larger than a woman's.
That would mean that
the genitalia of the cow
would be 7 times the size
of the genitalia of the woman.
No, that --
that doesn't seem right.
No, I don't think
this calculation is valid.
-He thinks about
how you see things
according to proportional laws,
he thinks about how a body moves
and how the displacement
of the limbs
happen in terms of
proportional relationships.
-Leonardo's studies
of mathematics
and geometry change
the way he sees the world.
And they would enable him
to create the most famous
drawing in the world --
the Vitruvian Man.
-The great Roman
architect Vitruvius
says, in his excellent book,
that the measurements
of the human body
are distributed by nature
as follows.
4 fingers make 1 palm,
and 4 palms make 1 foot.
6 palms make 1 cubit.
4 cubits make a man's height.
And 4 cubits make one pace
and 24 palms make a man.
If you open your legs so much as
to decrease your height by 1/14
and spread and raise your arms
till your middle fingers touch
the level
of the top of your head,
the center of your outstretched
limbs will be in the navel,
and the space between the legs
will be an equilateral triangle.
And Vitruvius says the length
of a man's outstretched arms
is equal to his height.
-The two geometric patterns
symbolize creation --
the square representing Earth,
the circle universe.
By fitting man within each, he
is showing the perfect nature
of man's creation,
perfectly in proportion to both.
-What Leonardo does,
which is totally new,
is that he combines,
in a single image,
the square and the circle
and the man.
And this is something
that no one before him has done.

-A good artist
must show two things --
man himself
and the inside of man's mind.
The first is easily done,
but the second -- the second...
You can only begin to get
at the second
through the use of gesture,
through the movement
of the limbs.

-He's observing this, what we
would call body language,
he's observing
how people communicate.
And of course, for a painter,
this is vital
because you can't use
actual language,
you're using body language.
-You must know which muscle is
responsible for every movement,
and only these do you show
as prominent.
Otherwise your drawing
of the nude form
will look like
a block of wood --
lacking in grace,
lacking in motion.
You'll turn the human form
into a sack of walnuts,
muscle and fiber into a bunch
of stringy radishes.

-Leonardo's in-depth study
of gesture and proportion
enables him to achieve
what is now recognized
as one of the greatest paintings
of all time, The Last Supper.
Commissioned by the Duke
of Milan on the wall
of a monastery dining room,
Leonardo wants the painting
to sing with the musical
harmony of proportion,
and he plays with size
to achieve it.
-The tapestries at the side,
if you measure the width
of the tapestries, their ratios
are one to a half
to a third to a quarter...
...which means that
the tapestries,
if you reconstruct them
are slightly different widths.

-His painting is so lifelike
the monks
feel like they
are dining with Jesus.
-The reaction to
The Last Supper,
when it was finished,
as recorded,
was, "Wow, it looks
like nature."
The space, the sense of light
coming through from the windows
at the side of the refectory,
the sense of color,
the sense of distance
in the atmosphere,
as well as
the linear perspective,
they thought it looked
unbelievably like nature.
It was some steps closer to
the optical experience of nature
than anything created before.
-Leonardo also wants
to tell a story.
The Last Supper captures
the moment
when Jesus reveals
to the disciples
that one of them
will betray him.
Leonardo uses gesture
to reveal
the emotional turmoil
of the disciples' reactions.
-The Last Supper is perhaps
the most eloquent example
of Leonardo's idea that you
express psychological meanings
and psychological events
through the gestures
and the body and the disposition
of the body in a painting.
-Out of his obsession,
a masterpiece is created.

Leonardo's codices
cover the natural world,
painting, and weapons,
but perhaps his most
groundbreaking work
was in anatomy.
At the time, medicine
and the understanding of
the human body was limited.
Like many of his other studies,
it was a controversial field
to pursue.
The La Specola Museum
in Florence
holds a collection
of anatomical wax models
dating back to the late 1700s.
But Leonardo was doing
his own anatomical research
almost 300 years earlier.
-His greatest contribution
was probably in his study
of the human body,
or inside the human body.
In other words,
his work on anatomy.
-His studies, now in
a collection held in England,
are still unsurpassed
in accuracy.

-There are some
beautiful drawings
showing the planes
of cut in the heart,
and what is very striking
for me is,
if you take those drawings
and you put them
against a modern textbook
of cardiac pathology
and you look at the way
the pathologist describes
their plane of cut,
they are exactly the same.

-So this old man, he tells me
that he has lived
for more than a hundred years
and that, physically, there's
nothing the matter with him,
he just feels
a little bit tired.
Then, just like that,
while I was there, he died.
Quickly, I made a dissection
to try and find the cause
of so sweet and easy a dying.
I found it was due to a lack
of blood in the artery
that nourishes the heart.
It was all dried-up
and withered.
-Dissection was
a wintertime sport
because bodies, of course,
and in the summertime in Italy,
that would happen very quickly.
-We're talking about
postmortem examination
in pre-refrigeration
circumstances --
it was a pretty
disgusting procedure.
He speaks about
the rising of his guts
as he makes his incision
into this decomposing body,
and the fat spurts out
and the blood coats his sleeves.

-There are a number of things
that might serve to deter you
from the science of dissection.
First, there is the problem
of your stomach.
And if you are not deterred
by your stomach,
you might still be put off
by the thought of spending long,
quiet nights
with a company of corpses,
quartered and flayed,
some of them,
and disgusting to see.
But if you are still here
and not deterred,
it might be that you discover
that you are not, in fact,
a good enough draftsman to
embark on such specialist work.
As to whether I was good enough
or I was not,
I think
you will find the answer
in the 120 books I wrote
and illustrated on the subject.
I would have written more
if I'd had the time.
-There was no "Gray's"
textbook of anatomy,
there was no
"Cunningham's Anatomy,"
there was nothing to guide him,
and when you look at the
complexity of what he was doing,
he had to design
his dissection process himself.
And in organs like the heart,
which collapse down
when they're empty
of their blood and not beating,
they don't look anything at all
like the functional heart,
so he then worked out
dissectional techniques,
such as injecting
the chambers of the heart
or the brain with hot wax
to fix it in its filled state.

-Now, describe the nature
of the womb
and how the baby lives in it.

Open it up and describe!
See how the baby is nourished
and how it grows,
and what intervals there
are between spurts of growth,
and what on Earth
is it that pushes the thing
out of its mother's womb?
And why does it sometimes
come before its time is due?

-Anatomy was a rather curious
discipline because it was hedged
around with all sorts of taboos
and difficulties.
The Church was very uneasy
about sort of, as it were,
tinkering around
under the bonnet
of God's finest creation, man.
-The Church was wary of
the dissection of the deceased
because it was believed
we would take our same bodies
into the afterlife.
But Leonardo was determined
to prove his idea
that the makeup
of the human body
was the same
as that of the Earth.
-Motion is cause of all life
and the law of necessity
makes every effect
the direct result of its cause
and by the shortest route.
Just as man has bones
to support his flesh,
the world has rocks
to support the Earth.
Inside man, there is
the lake of blood,
and inside that, the lungs,
which increase and decrease
with breathing.
Likewise, the oceans increase
and decrease
with the breathing of the world.
And the veins originate
in that lake of blood
and run through the body.
And, likewise, the oceanic sea
fills the body of the Earth
with infinite veins of water.
Yes, the body of man does seem
to serve as an analogy
for the whole world.
-He wasn't an anatomist
in the sense we think of today.
I think it was an extension
of his enquiries
into natural philosophy.
-Leonardo discovers that,
like the spirals of water
in the Arno Valley,
spirals are the key
to the successful design
of the flow of blood.
-Blood has to escape
from the heart,
or the muscle of the heart
wouldn't be able to pump.
So the blood escapes
through a valve.
But when the valve reopens,
the blood that's inside
doesn't go back.
So the old blood does not mix
in the ventricle with the new.
Instead, the escaping blood
is pushed forward by the heart
and spirals back into
the three valves and closes them
so that this blood
cannot go back.
Nothing is superfluous
in nature.
Oh, if you want to stay healthy
and live a long time,
eat only when you are hungry.
Chew thoroughly
and digest well.
Remember, I have looked
inside the gut.
Keep your diet simple
and always mix water
with your wine.
It is a mistake to take
medicine --
they've no idea
what they're talking about.
It's also a mistake to sleep
in the middle of the day.
Your soul inhabits your body,
and if you would like
an indication
of the state of a man's soul,
observe how he looks
after the place he keeps it.
If you think the human body is a
piece of marvellous engineering,
remember that it is nothing
compared to the engineering
of the soul
that lives in this building,
which is a divine thing.
-He starts investigating
the skull,
which might seem a sensible
thing for a painter to do.
He starts saying what happens
inside the skull,
where is intellect,
where is imagination?
Where does the soul reside?
-Until the day he dies
at the age of 67,
Leonardo keeps on searching
for answers
to the mysteries of life.
He has few possessions
at his deathbed
but with him are his notebooks.
He'd been trying to organize
his notes for publication,
but the scale of the job
defeated him.
The true value of this perhaps
greatest masterpiece
would remain hidden
for centuries,
and the real Leonardo
would remain obscure.
But the brilliant work captured
in his notebooks
would find their expression
in another
of his deathbed possessions.

In the painting of a merchant's
wife, he was able to showcase
all his obsessions,
his investigations.
Without them, the Mona Lisa
would have remained
just a painting
of a merchant's wife.
-It seems to have developed
into what I call
a philosophical picture.
It developed its own internal
rationale --
the body of the woman,
the body of the Earth,
all his optical knowledge,
his anatomical knowledge,
his knowledge of cloth,
his knowledge of everything.

-We see this famous smile
that isn't actually a smile
but so much as a mouth
about to become a smile.
We see behind her --
she's sitting on this balcony
or loggia -- and behind her
is this landscape into
which eons of geological time
are etched in the mountains
and the rivers.
So this painting seems to distil
that sort of fourth dimension,
which paintings in general
can't contain,
which is the dimension of time.
-Leonardo's theories of motion,
his observations of the natural
world and of geology,
the effects of atmosphere,
distance and proportion,
as well as his unsurpassed
knowledge of gesture
and human anatomy,
muscle and bone structure,
are all brought together
in this one painting.

-What is fair in man
does not last.
Nothing is more fleeting
than the years of a man's life.
But this is not true of art.
The joy of understanding --
that is the most
noble of pleasures.
Feathers will lift men,
as they do birds, up to Heaven.
I must stop now,
my soup's getting cold.
-At the time of his death,
Leonardo wouldn't have known
if he would find immortal fame.
It would probably have been
a surprise to discover
it was his paintings
which would actually achieve it.
Because, for him, it was
a journey to discover the truth
about everything -- as recorded
in his notebooks --
which was the greatest
achievement of his life.
Looked at today, his books
are still groundbreaking
for their breadth of knowledge
and understanding
of the natural world.
Had they been published
during his lifetime,
his ideas could have changed
the course of human discovery
and the development
of the modern world.
[ aKido's "A Kind Of Momentum"
plays ]

Feels like I missed out
All I need is less doubt
Trust me, I'm all right
Ramble on all sound
Let's move to a new town
Help me overwrite
Stop the alarm clock
Is this just idle talk?
Trust me one