Tag Archives: Leonardo da Vinci

Another da Vinci discovery

A historian doing a detailed study of Leonardo da Vinci’s research on the nature of friction has discovered his first notes on the subject, where da Vinci outlined the laws of friction two hundred years before they were finally documented by a French scientist.

“The sketches and text show Leonardo understood the fundamentals of friction in 1493,” says Hutchings. “He knew that the force of friction acting between two sliding surfaces is proportional to the load pressing the surfaces together and that friction is independent of the apparent area of contact between the two surfaces. These are the ‘laws of friction’ that we nowadays usually credit to a French scientist, Guillaume Amontons, working 200 years later.”

It is an unfortunate thing that da Vinci lived and worked in Italy. Though this was where the Renaissance blossomed, it is also the place where some scientists at the time were persecuted for being too honest about their research. To protect himself da Vinci confined his scientific genius to his private diaries, written in a backwards script he created so that no one could easily understand what he wrote. Thus, while his brilliance as a painter was recognized in his lifetime and after, the discoveries he had made about engineering and science were lost for literally centuries.

I wonder if there are individuals, especially in the climate field, who are now experimenting with similar techniques to hide their work.


Have researchers found Leonardo da Vinci’s lost “The Battle of Anghiari” fresco, hidden for the past six centuries behind a wall?

Have researchers found Leonardo da Vinca’s lost “The Battle of Anghiari” fresco, hidden for the past six centuries behind a wall?

The painting, considered a masterpiece by contemporaries, had never been finished by da Vinci because he had used an experimental technique to paint it, and that technique had failed. Thus, the painting was painted over fifty years later. The only reason we have a good idea of what the painting looked like is that several artists were so impressed by it that they produced copies while it was still visible.

The research suggests the painting was not painted over, but that a false wall was built in front of it. If so, this would be truly exciting discovery. The painting would probably not be in very good shape, but to actually see it would be wonderful.