Even the brilliant mind of Leonardo da Vinci needed to jot things down in a notebook so he could remember what he needed to do. The only difference, of course, is that da Vinci’s to-do list was much more complex than ours. I mean, who needs to calculate the measurement of Milan and its suburbs and learn how to repair a lock, canal and mill?
Oh yes, I’ll fit in “Draw Milan” right in between my 11 o’clock coffee and 1 o’clock meeting. Seriously, draw Milan?! Each of da Vinci’s tasks, from asking a powerful person what it means to “go on ice in Flanders” to learning about the measurement of the sun to examining a crossbow and so much more, speaks to how curious Mr Renaissance was. He wanted to learn anything from anyone about everything.
These to-do list items have been culled together as part of an upcoming book about Leonardo da Vinci by Toby Lester called Da Vinci’s Ghost: Genius, Obsession, and How Leonardo Created the World in His Own Image. Lester said that da Vinci would always carry around a small notebook and make a note “whenever something caught his eye”, his version of a modern day to-do list. The items shown in the list were lifted from those notebooks in the early 1490s. I wonder how much of it he got done.