Back in the early 1500’s Leonardo Da Vinci was busy filling notebook after notebook with all his accumulated knowledge on painting, anatomy, mechanics, hydraulics and pretty well everything he observed. One of the greatest thinkers of the renaissance, Leonardo probably never imagined his notes would be translated, digitized and made freely available to artists in the 21st Century. Yesterday I downloaded iBooks to my iPhone, and there for free, in the iBooks download section, was “The Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci – Complete” thanks to the efforts of Project Gutenberg.
It makes fascinating reading and is packed with practical methods and techniques used by Da Vinci’s in his paintings and drawings.
Here is his technique for checking that a painted shadow is the right color.
“When you draw a figure and you wish to see whether the shadow is the proper complement to the light, and neither redder nor yellower than is the nature of the colour you wish to represent in shade, proceed thus. Cast a shadow with your finger on the illuminated portion, and if the accidental shadow that you have made is like the natural shadow cast by your finger on your work, well and good; and by putting your finger nearer or farther off, you can make darker or lighter shadows, which you must compare with your own.”
The complete Notebooks of Leonardo Da Vinci are freely available through the Project Gutenberg website. Downloadable in a number of formats all under 1.5MB
HOORAY!! Now this is a piece of information that I can really put to use….thank you so much!!
Glad you find the info useful. The book is full of really interesting stuff.
oh now is that cooool or what??? Wait till I go back to class with that tip…. my painting buddies will finally appreciate my two cents:) ….thanks soooo much. I think I better go download Leo´s books!
Thanks for commenting and glad you found Leo’s tip useful – the books are great – full of really interesting information.
What a neat find, John! Thank you for posting this. I clicked your link and went to Project Gutenberg and looked at several downloads for a computer (not the iPhone). Unfortunately none of the ones I looked at have images, only text. An art book without pics is a curious thing :(. Do you by any change know which of the downloads have pictures?
It’s a shame, but none of the project Gutenberg content seems to have images. I think it is a text only thing. It would be great to have images with the Leonardo notebooks, but even without, they are fascinating reading. I love the recipes for priming panels and mixing various paints and varnishes. Being an artist in the 1500’s was a lot harder job!
Your work shows your passion about painting….keep it up you are doing good job.
This is fantastic information. Thanks so much for sharing!
Thanks for commenting