Window to the Soul - The i, that is


Various Sketches of the function and structure of the Eye from Leonardo da Vinci's notebooks. 

Leonardo spent a lot of time not only dissecting eyes (literally) but also disassembling the various aspects of vision into their various parts and as a whole. 

How does the eye work? How is it connected to the brain? How do they communicate?

He tried to answer why the pupil dilates with light - why images are seen in reverse - how light was focused by the eye itself and projected to the back of it. Not only did he study the eye itself but how it affected a person's perception. 

There is no doubt that he studied the structure of the eye and vision more thoroughly than anyone before him and anyone else for hundreds of years. The knowledge he gained with his study of anatomy and perception are implemented in his art. This is an example of the intermingling of art and science at it's finest. 

These are only a few of his sketches and quotes on the subject(s.) There are literally hundreds if not thousands more. He was so advanced in these areas and using them in his art that they rival glasses free -3d tv's of today.... There will be a chapter or so in my book about it!

  • "In order to see what function the eyeball "luce" serves in the pupil cause a thing resembling the eyeball to be made out of glass."
  • "The pupil of the eye is situated in the centre in the eyball "luce" which is of the shape of part of a sphere which takes the pupil at the centre of its base. This 'luce' forming part of a sphere takes all the images of the objects and transmits them by the pupil within to the place where the vision is formed.
  • In the anatomy of the eye, in order to be able to see the inside wll without spilling it's water humour, you should place the complete eye in white of egg and make it boil and become solid, cutting the egg and the eye transversely so that no part of the middle portion may be poured out."
  • "The larger the pupil the larger will be the appearance of the object it sees. This is evident when we look at luminous and especially at heavenly bodies. When the eye emerges from the darkness and suddenly looks at these bodies they will appear larger at first and will then diminish. And if you look at these bodies though a small hole you will see them smaller because a smaller part of the pupil is functioning in this act."
  • Presbyopia: "Why when men are somewhat advanced in years they see better at a distance - Sight is better at a distance than near at hand with men who are somewhat advanced in years because the same thing transmits a smaller impression of itself to the eye when it is remote than when it is near."

“The eye, which is called the window of the soul, is the principal means by which the central sense can most completely and abundantly appreciate the infinite works of nature; and the ear is the second, which acquires dignity by hearing of the things the eye has seen. If you, historians, or poets, or mathematicians had not seen things with your eyes you could not report of them in writing. And if you, O poet, tell a story with your pen, the painter with his brush can tell it more easily, with simpler completeness and less tedious to be understood. And if you call painting dumb poetry, the painter may call poetry blind painting. Now which is the worse defect? To be blind or dumb? Though the poet is as free as the painter in the invention of his fictions they are not so satisfactory to men as paintings; for, though poetry is able to describe forms, actions and places in words, the painter deals with the actual similitude of the forms, in order to represent them. Now tell me which is the nearer to the actual man: the name of man or the image of the man. The name of man differs in different countries, but his form is never changed but by death.” - Leonardo da Vinci

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