Insights from Leonardo da Vinci’s Highly Creative Mind

This story was originally published in French in 2016. Translated from French to English by Illanga Itoua.

Leonardo da Vinci lived for sixty-seven years, producing approximately fifteen pieces of artwork. Raphaël lived for thirty-seven years, and left behind around eighty. In his eighty-eight years, Michelangelo produced forty sculptures, a dozen paintings (including his work inside the Sistine Chapel), and a dozen architectural works.

Why was da Vinci, a man considered to be the authentic genius of the Renaissance, so relatively unproductive?

This essay is no art history thesis: I wish, rather, to discuss Ralph Steadman’s speculative book on this most influential of artists and thinkers.

A British illustrator born in 1936, Steadman was so fascinated with the creative and scientific genius of Leonardo da Vinci, he decided to follow in his footsteps; he lived where Leonardo had lived; he redrew his aforementioned inventions. And finally, he wrote and illustrated this imagined autobiography.