Leonardo da Vinci’s To Do List circa 1490
Leonardo da Vinci’s To Do List from around the 1490’s is truly a remarkable artwork in itself. It also just proves to show you that people, no matter how brilliant, how famous, or how misunderstood, all throughout history, have been making ‘To Do Lists’. It’s just human nature. We want to be sure that we remember what we plan on doing and it is also a good way to keep yourself focused on your chores and goals.
While regular To Do Lists have things like ‘Buy food’, ‘Change Oil’, ‘Pick up grandma’ etc, da Vinci’s list is at a totally different level. It’s not even in the same league, it’s not even the same sport. Leonardo da Vinci was so involved in his work, even his To Do Lists are focused on the most tiny details one could imagine.
He used to write and draw in his notebook whatever came to mind. Whatever he thought to be important was present in his writings and drawings. Leonardo da Vinci wrote “It is useful to constantly observe, note, and consider”. In one of his books, circa 1490’s, this To Do List was found and history just received another precious gem for its shelves.
One very interesting fact you should know before reading Leonardo da Vinci’s To Do List is that he used to write from right to left, like Arabic or Hebrew.
[Calculate] the measurement of Milan and Suburbs
[Find] a book that treats of Milan and its churches, which is to be had at the stationer’s on the way to Cordusio
[Discover] the measurement of Corte Vecchio (the courtyard in the duke’s palace).
[Discover] the measurement of the castello (the duke’s palace itself)
Get the master of arithmetic to show you how to square a triangle.
Get Messer Fazio (a professor of medicine and law in Pavia) to show you about proportion.
Get the Brera Friar (at the Benedictine Monastery to Milan) to show you De Ponderibus (a medieval text on mechanics)
[Talk to] Giannino, the Bombardier, re. the means by which the tower of Ferrara is walled without loopholes (no one really knows what Da Vinci meant by this)
Ask Benedetto Potinari (A Florentine Merchant) by what means they go on ice in Flanders
Ask Maestro Antonio how mortars are positioned on bastions by day or night.
[Examine] the Crossbow of Mastro Giannetto
Find a master of hydraulics and get him to tell you how to repair a lock, canal and mill in the Lombard manner
[Ask about] the measurement of the sun promised me by Maestro Giovanni Francese
Try to get Vitolone (the medieval author of a text on optics), which is in the Library at Pavia, which deals with the mathematic.