Leonardo Da Vinci was born in the village of Vinci, between the Tuscan cities of Empoli and Pistoia, on the 15 of April, 1452 at around 3 am. At the age of 16 he and his family moved to Florence. It was there that his father sent him to study with the most versatile and sought after Florentine master of the time: the sculptor, painter and goldsmith Andrea Verrochio. During that time Leonardo started to develop his artistic personality. He seems to have a very odd career as an artist who sold almost no pictures and completed no major sculptures. A number of the most famous paintings appear never to have been passed on to those who commissioned them.
Leonardo had a keen eye and quick mind that led him to make important discoveries, yet he never published his ideas. He was a gentle vegetarian who despised war, yet he worked as a military engineer to invent advanced and deadly weapons.
Leonardo developed a unique new attitude about machines. He reasoned that by understanding how each separate machine worked, he could modify them and combine them in different ways to improve existing machines or create inventions no one had ever seen or heard of before. His tremendous talents as an illustrator allowed him to draw his idea with exceptional precision.
By 1503, Florence was at war with the neighbouring city of Pisa, and Leonardo worked on a plan to divert the Arno River from the enemy city. First it would cut off Pisa's supply route, and later the river the river would be turned into a canal for peacetime use. Neither project was ever finished but Leonardo's reputation as a creator and talented engineer was firmly established.
An excellent example of how he thought about military devices is...