While he never owned a Nikon or Canon, he did understand the concept of photography back in 1485. There is a principal known as the camera obscura (also known as a pin hole camera), where a small hole in a darken room or tent will allow light passing through to form an inverted image of the outside scene on a canvas placed a fixed distance from the hole. In his elegant words of the day, this is what Da Vinci said:
“Who would believe that so small a space could contain the image of all the universe? O mighty process! What talent can avail to penetrate a nature such as these? Verily, none! This it is that guides the human discourse to the considering of divine things. Here the figures, here the colors, here all the images of every part of the universe are contracted to a point. O what a point is so marvelous!”
We don’t know if he put the camera obscura into practice, but many artist were known to use it to begin their basic sketching of a painting. Because the image is inverted, you will find paintings of people that seem to be left hand dominate. If an artist had this feature in a lot of their work, it is an indication of the camera obscura use. In some ways it was the Photoshop of its day. Today marks the anniversary of Da Vinci’s death in 1519. We have visited his home in Cloux, France. While standing in his bedroom I remember thinking that I was breathing the air of one of histories greatest scientist and artist. Hats off to a great man and to all the artist who capture the beauty of life.