Famous Journals: Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci, most if not everyone knows, or will know who he is in their lifetime. He was definitely a genius. He was a master of many vocations, a master painter, architect, sculptor, and inventor, and his ideas were all way ahead of their time. Even now many of his surviving works are currently displayed in prestigious museums and galleries all over the world, he truly inspires many, everyday.

Da Vinci spent most of his life as an engineer and architect, known for his amazing art but what can be seen from his journals is that he used them as tools. To help him figure out a solution to any problems at hand. In his lifetime, da Vinci kept notes, journals, about his ideas, inventions, and studies. Many did not survive the centuries between then and now but today, an estimated number of  pages from those journals are still around today. Da Vinci’s 72-page Journal; Codex Leicester, was even purchased by Bill Gates back in 1994. 

His writing and art are sought out by all branches of people. Little notes, full journal entries and sketches spanning across a number of different notebooks, including snippets of information about work to whatever topics that interested him at the time – painting, engineering, philosophy, warfare, engineering, physiology, landscape, proportion, perspective, geography, geology, light and shade, inventions and various other topics such as shopping lists and so on. 

While Leonardo da Vinci never pushed for any of his musings to be published, he did use them to help progress with his work and then to look back on and reflect. His obsession to solve problems and figure things out which ultimately resulted in such detailed and in-depth journals. He wrote to better himself and that in itself shows the absolute genius that he was.

For anyone who currently keeps or wants to start on their journal journey, it is extremely important to have your “why” because without it keeping one will not last very long, especially if this is something you would really like to stick to. If this is for growth, gratitude or to help your mental health. For da Vinci, it was his intention to “leave a memory of (whether this be for himself or not) in the minds of others” in search of finding a deeper, more lasting meaning to his life.

Regardless of which stage in life you may be; parent, student, intellectual, soul-searching or anything else you wish, you can and should use the journal just like da Vinci. Adjust the journals and your entries with your changing interests. Write about things you are passionate about. Be unapologetically honest and open and true to yourself, the raw emotion you put in to your journal will help you stick with your writing and form the habit.