The Complete Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci – Free Ebook

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If someone asked me to name the three people, living or dead, who have influenced my life the most, I would have to say Benjamin Franklin, Thomas Edison, and Leonardo da Vinci – all three of whom are essentially inventors. But the renaissance man himself has influenced me the most. If he were alive today, I would beg him to let me be his protege.

As a long-time aspiring renaissance man myself, I have studied all of da Vinci’s paintings and drawings, including the scraps of sketches that he used as case studies before a commissioned painting. My love for da Vinci’s works led me to spend 5 straight years in my university library, studying every book on the Old Master (European) painters that I could get may hands. I learned a great deal about drawing and composition, but alas, never developed a skill for painting.

Besides being a painter, an inventor, and a student of science, da Vinci was a sort of journalist, in the sense that he documented everything he did, with probably no intention of actually communicating his knowledge to anyone else. Da Vinci’s noteboooks were for himself. He documented pretty much everything in his notebooks, including monies owed to him or borrowed.

Da Vinci’s notebooks, sans diagrams, have been collected into a free etext at Project Gutenberg. Adhering to their distribution license, I have created a PDF of Da Vinci’s notebooks [~2.8 Mb], free for download. Because it is a 350 page document, I suggest you download it and read it at your leisure. I massaged the text formatting for about 10 pages, but gave up due to the sheer volume of work. If you want the original unformatted text, please visit the Project Gutenberg website. In either case, please read the terms of use info at the beginning of the document.

The ebook, sourced from Project Gutenberg, is an 1888 translation, by Jean Paul Richter, of the original notebooks. According to the website, Da Vinci’s Notebooks is one of the most downloaded ebooks, if not the most.

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