What is that?

A To-Do list from the great Leonardo da Vinci. Pretty awesome, right?

Why do I love this? I guess it looks like he is a little unfocused, but what I really love is that he wrote down everything that caught his eye, everything that gave him inspiration. He took note of the details. He listened with his eyes.

I have often thought that the heart of art is listening (which could also be called observing – connection to scientists?). An artist’s task is to absorb the world that surrounds her/him and spin it into threads of gold. Okay, that is a bit dramatic, maybe if I say spinning it into yarn or string might be a bit less self-congratulatory.

I found this this image on a blog post on NPR:

In a book soon to be published, Lester says Leonardo used to travel with a small notebook hanging from his belt, and “whenever something caught his eye,” he would make a note, or begin “sketching furiously.”


“It is useful,” Leonardo wrote, to “constantly observe, note, and consider.” But when you are Leonardo, what sorts of things are buzzing around in your head? Well, Toby Lester describes what is essentially a “To Do” list buried in one of those notebooks, a bunch of things Leonardo planned to do one week, or month, in the early 1490’s.


I have been obsessed with Leonardo da Vinci since I read his biography in the 10th grade. He did not allow himself to be boxed into one label – something we like to label Renaissance Man.

Hm. I have always thought that he had the right idea.



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