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Oran Sandel as Leonardo  da VinciLEONARDO'S WORKSHOP: The Invention, Art and Science of Leonardo da Vinci

Performed: April 14, 2003

The life and works of artist and scientist Leonardo da Vinci continue to fascinate us because, while he exemplified the Italian Renaissance, he transcended his time and place, inventing things like a helicopter 500 years before the technology existed to build one. This performance invites you to visit the workshop of Leonardo’s mind where you can learn how a genius thinks.

Enough material has survived from his art works and notebooks to give us a picture of Leonardo as almost the singular embodiment of the Renaissance. His mastery of disciplines as diverse as painting, anatomy, engineering, and music were celebrated in his lifetime and have been the subject of fascination ever since. He called himself “unlettered” yet commanded the knowledge of the major scholarly works of the time, and anticipated a long list of later discoveries, especially in his mechanical inventions.

Mark Jaster and The Washington Revels Chorus » View Webcast (requires freely available RealMedia player)

» Get Learning Guide [PDF: 3.17MB] (requires freely available Acrobat Reader)

Reading, Media and Web Links:


Michael J. Gelb, How to Think Like Leonardo: Seven Steps to Genius Every Day. New York, NY: Delacorte Press, 1998.
Janis Herbert, Leonardo da Vinci for Kids: His Life and Ideas: 21 Activities. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 1998. (A lively biography for grade 4 and up.)

Andrew Langley, Leonardo da Vinci and the Renaissance. Philadelphia, Pa.: Running Press, 2001. (Grade 4-6)
Fiona Macdonald, The World in the Time of Leonardo da Vinci. Parsippany, N.J. : Dillon Press, 1998. (Ages 9-12)

Richard McLanathan. Leonardo Da Vinci (An Abrams First Impressions Book). Abrams Books for Young Readers, 1990. A fresh, detailed introduction to Leonardo’s art and science, with great explanations and superb quality reproductions. (Gr. 5–12)

Irma A. Richter, ed., The Notebooks of Leonardo da Vinci. Oxford ; New York : Oxford University Press, 1998. (Comprehensive guide to Leonardo’s drawings and writings.)

Stewart Ross, Leonardo da Vinci.(Scientists Who Made History Series). Austin, TX : Raintree Steck-Vaughn, 2002. (Ages 9-12)

Peggy Saari & Aaron Saari, eds.; Julie Carnagie, project ed., Renaissance & Reformation, Primary Sources. Detroit : UXL, 2002.

Ben Schneiderman, Leonardo’s Laptop: Human Needs and the New Computing Technologies. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2002.

Diane Stanley, Leonardo da Vinci. HarperCollins, 1996. (Excellent introduction by one of the best children’s biographers. Grade 2 and up.)


The Cradle of the Renaissance: Italian Music for the Time of Leonardo da Vinci. London: Hyperion, 1995.

Web sites

Leonardo da Vinci: the Man & the Inventor -

Leonardo’s Workshop: Renaissance Handbook -

Leonardo @ the Museum: Virtual Leonardo -

Inventor’s Workshop: Leonardo’s Legacy -

Leonardo da Vinci, National Museum of Science and Technology, Milan -

Virtual Renaissance -

Leonardo Museum in Vinci -


Home About Zora! Leonardo Celtic Roots Spaelimenninir Hidden Washington Additional Programs
  The Library of Congress >> Virtual Programs and Services
  September 18, 2006
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