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Leonardo da Vinci and Vipava

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in a Tuscan hamlet near Vinci, Italy,
which is located about 40 km away from Florence. Born out of wedlock to a
notary, Ser Piero and (presumably) a slave, Caterina. Leonardo was educated in
the studio of the renowned Florentine painter Andrea Verrocchio, as his
apprentice. Much of his life was spent in the main centres of the Renaissance,
where he worked for the House of Medici and also for the Signoria of Florence.
Furthermore, he was in the service of the Duke Ludovico il Moro in Milan as well
as Francis I of France, the King of France. He travelled mostly to central and
northern Italy and he also left for Rome where he spent much of his time as Pope
Leo X and his brother, Giuliano de' Medici's guest. He spent the last years of his
life in France, supported by King Francis I of France, being given the manor
house Clos Lucé, near the king's residence at the royal Chateau d'Amboise,
where he died on May 2, 1519.

 

Leonardo was an outstanding artist, whose areas of interest included engineering, optics,
mechanics, mathematics, anatomy, astronomy and many more. He was obssessed with observing and understanding phenomena in nature, which he called ''the master of masters''.
To learn about the world, da Vinci blended his own observations with experimentation, and he recorded his observations by creating artistic depictions. In fact, he considered painting superior to other human activities. Most importantly, his explorations enabled him to connect art and science by finding surprisingly innovative solutions. His curiosity – driven mind helped him think differently, which is the reason why he was regarded as one of the forefathers of the study.

Many of da Vinci's masterpieces are found in several museums in Europe and in America. Among his works, he Mona Lisa (La Gioconda), is the world's most famous portrait which is on display at Louvre, in Paris. His other masterpieces include The Annunciation, The Adoration of the Magi (Florence), The Last Supper (Milan), Virgin of the Rocks (London and Paris), Ginevra de' Benci (Washington), Lady with an Ermine (Krakow), The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne and St. John the Baptist (Paris). Most of da Vinci's collections of drawings and sketches can be found in Milan, Turin, Venice, Paris and Madrid and also in the British Queen's Royal Art collection as well as Bill Gates' private collection in the USA.

Leonardo's interest was entirely given to physical geography and hydrology, especially of those in Tuscany, in Lombardy and finally, in France. Furthermore, his interest manifested itself in devising a range of projects, particularly the regulation of rivers and the dam draining, used for agricultural and industrial purposes and to create new transport and trade routes but also for siege defences against the enemy forces.

In the early 1500, after his arrival in Venice, he continued pursuing his siege defence projects against possible Turkish invasions in Friuli. According to Alessandro Vezzosi, the leading 'Leonardist', the expert on the life and work of Leonardo da Vinci, Leonardo explored this region and studied the rivers' watercourses as well as their currents by studying high water levels and dams.

With his work, he made an important contribution to the synergy of the local population and the waters. Da Vinci studied floods and speculated on the impact floods would have on enemy armies. As a result, he made a siege defence project in order to create the inondation in the valley, which would prevent the enemy invasion. According to the writings of his autograph from 1517, it is known that Leonardo wanted to construct a kind of mobile barrier (a mobile dam) in the Isonzo river valley and in the Vipava valley.

As evident from his writings, da Vinci made a thorough inspection of Gorizia, along the coastal zones of the Isonzo river (the river which is partially located in Slovenia and partially in Italy and flows into the Adriatic Sea) as well as along the coastal zones of  the Vipava river (located on the territory of Vipava), a tributary that springs and flows on the territory of present – day Slovenia and it joins the Isonzo river in the Municipality of Savogna. Da Vinci is known for his outstanding genius. Not only did he follow his family tradition in his own land but he also had a strong interest in nature, especially in agriculture. Leonardo da Vinci's collection of drawings is found in his codex, among which, the press and the hand plow, water fountains, spirit cauldron, millstone with the specific purpose of grinding wheat into flour but also paint dyes. In his manuscripts, among several of his fables and 'prophecies', there are some of them dedicated to honey, wine and olives.

Another Leonardo's ingenious design was a self – supporting bridge, a rapid construction bridge, also called 'Il Ponte Salvatico' or da Vinci bridge. Of many structures he designed, perhaps none made more ingenious use of materials which excluded iron and ropes in order to destroy the bridge after the river crossing and thus to drive the enemy army away. 'This bridge of luck represents a symbol of union between people and places, a sign of solidarity among different civilizations and peoples'.

 

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