Field of Science

Vitruvian Geology – Leonardo da Vinci and the Realistic Depiction of the Earth’s Surface

Leonardo da Vinci studied rocks and landscapes not only to improve the realism of his paintings, but also in an attempt to understand how the earth works. Leonardo was obsessed with water, which he considered a vector to erode ancient rocks and to deposit new sedimentary rocks, reshaping so over time the “living” earth. The running water is for earth what blood is for the human body – it flows from the mountains to the sea, then – so Leonardo – in subterranean veins returns to the mountains, a circulatory system like found in humans.

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