“Look at walls splashed with a number of stains, or stones of various mixed colours. If you have to invent some scene, you can see there resemblances to a number of landscapes, adorned with mountains, rivers, rocks, trees, great plains, valleys and hills, in various ways. Also you can see various battles, and lively postures of strange figures, expressions on faces, costumes and an infinite number of things, which you can reduce to good integrated form. This happens on such walls and varicolored stones, (which act) like the sound of bells, in whose peeling you can find every name and word that you can imagine.
Do not despise my opinion, when I remind you that it should not be hard for you to stop sometimes and look into the stains of walls, or the ashes of a fire, or clouds, or mud or like places, in which, if you consider them well, you may find really marvelous ideas.
The mind of the painter is stimulated to new discoveries, the composition of battles of animals and men, various compositions of landscapes and monstrous things, such as devils and similar things, which may bring you honor, because by indistinct things the mind is stimulated to new inventions.”
Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, having been a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Born as the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant girl, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, spending his final years in France at the home given to him by King Francois I.
Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man", a man whose seemingly infinite curiosity was equaled only by his powers of invention. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived.
image 1. Unfinished painting by Leonardo da Vinci. Saint Jerome in the Wilderness. 1480.
image 2. Wall in Vancouver, BC. Canada. Photo by Clinock.
image 3. Clouds over Vancouver. Photo by Clinock.
image 4. Detail of sidewalk in San Miguel de Allende, Mexico. Photo by Clinock.
image 5. Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci. c. 1490.
image 6. Self Portrait in Red Chalk by Leonardo da Vinci. c. 1512.
Thanks to Wikipedia for images and text.