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THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 7, 2019 www.italoamericano.org L'Italo-Americano 2 I t's one of the first names associated to Italy. A bit everywhere in the world, when you mention il Belpaese, someone mentions him, always. His fame has been consolidated by 500 years of references, citations and by one of the most famous masterpieces on the planet: the Gioconda. Honestly, it is difficult to keep Italian culture separated from Leonardo da Vinci, the genius. A genius, because people like that doesn't come often into this world: surprisingly creative, transcending their own time and its cultural conventions, true visionaries, constantly one step above the rest, to the point their mind still marvel us today. Shakespeare (more or less coeval to Leonardo) is another one of them: and there haven't been many other Shakespeares after the first. But plenty of literature ran under the bridge. The genius of Western culture's most eminent dramaturge, even though "limited" so to speak, to the field of the letters and theatre (but we should at least add psychology, social criticism, politics, history, ethics, popular knowledge and much more. In the end, to describe so well the human soul and its behavior means to possess a pretty wide array of knowledge) continues to teach and surprise even today, just like Leonardo. And just like Leonardo, Shakespeare, too, is a figure shrouded in mystery. But perhaps the greatest mystery is the geniality of such minds, which managed to belong so profoundly to their own epoch, while transcending it entirely at the same time. They exceeded simultaneously in many, different things, a clear demonstration of the power and the sublimity of the human mind. Thinking about it, being as eclectic as Leonardo is not an easy task: scientist and painter, engineer and scenographer, botanist and musician, architect and mechanic, manager and costume designer, genial at drawing and excellent essayist, anatomist and inventor of military machines, geographer and mathematician, astronomer and chemist, naturalist and urbanist. A man of universal genius and talent, he became the very embodiment of Renaissance and of the Humanist period, that his, the highest point of anthropocentrism. Leonardo is the one who, before "acting his own way," before innovating languages and techniques - and sometimes making mistakes - sweated it all in the Leonardo the icon: difficult to think about Italian culture without thinking of his genius From the director atelier, learning from his masters, thus becoming also the symbol of those values of craftsmanship il Belpaese places at the heart of today's concept of Made in Italy. Certainly, a constant in his life and mind was curiosity. The true, incredibly powerful motor of his intelligence. Leonardo had a hunger for knowledge and was always ready to experiment, a characteristic that he shares with so many modern researchers. Empirical method and scientific speculation, without, of course, forgetting his artistic abilities and sensibility: his portraits, his works exude a natural ability to get and depict all traits of the human spirit. In this regard, we should not forget that Leonardo even wrote fairytales. Inspired by the literary production of his own times, many works of which he owned and kept in his own library (because of course, he was also a passionate reader), he wrote many little tales, illustrated with his wonderful sketches, complete with a moral and with plants, animals or natural elements playing the part of the protagonist. Curiosity and fantasy. Born a mere 40 years before the discovery of America, this artist- scientist-engineer who ideated parachutes when there weren't even planes, and flying machines when helium balloons were still in the mind of their future inventors, remains a sort of bone of contention. Because he keeps on surprising us a lot. Leonardo's treasure hunt, that is, the hope to clear the fog around his person and his works, to understand his notes, his brilliant intuitions and to reveal his many secrets, comes to terms with the impossibility to fully comprehend the neuronal mechanisms of his fantasy, of his fervid imagination, qualities that certainly always lead him. The mystery surrounding him means he's been accused of being an heretic, an esotericist, a spy and a forger. And if, in the end, everything is possible, then it's almost always possible to say everything and the contrary of it, too. In the end, even his typical handwriting - he used to write from right to left, so a mirror is necessary to read his notes comfortably - is a consequence of dyslexia for some and of his being left handed for others. Certainly, if the Codex Atlanticus shows how he really noted and sketched everything, even if in a rather disorganized fashion, it's also true that he basically never wrote anything about himself. He was really curious and would take notes on anything he had in mind or under his own eyes, yet he wrote nothing about his private life. And maybe this is his last, and more contemporary "lesson:" in a moment in time when IT giants profile their users and steal their digital identities, it is important to protect our privacy. And think about it: in the end, nothing of Leonardo's private life is necessary to understand we've been admiring a real genius! Simone Schiavinato, Director NEWS & FEATURES TOP STORIES PEOPLE EVENTS

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