Page 31 - VigoreChicago1

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Special Interest
A remarkable fellow is still
teaching us something about
the future. What a genius... Before he was
famous, before he painted the Mona Lisa
and the Last Supper, before he invented the
helicopter, before he drew the most
famous image of man, before he was all of
these things, Leonardo da Vinci was an
artificer, an armorer, a maker of things
that go "boom".
Like many, he had to put together a
resume to get his next position. So in 1482,
at the age of 30, he wrote out a letter and a
list of his capabilities and sent it off to
Ludovico il Moro, Duke of Milan.
You'll notice he doesn't recite past
achievements. He doesn't mention the
painting of the altarpiece for the Chapel of
St Bernard; he doesn't provide a
laundry list of past bombs he's built;
he doesn't cite his prior employment in
artist Andrea di Cione's studio. No, he
does none of these things, because those
would be about his achievements, not the
Duke's needs. Instead, he sells his
prospective employer on what Leonardo
can do for him.
Now imagine being the Duke of Milan and
receiving this magnificent letter (resume)
from the young Leonardo da Vinci of
Florence. The descriptives paint a great
picture (if you're a Renaissance Duke) of
siege engines and bombardments and
mortars and trench-draining and bridges to
defeat the enemy. You can almost
imagine the scenes that ran through the
Duke's head as he held this letter in his
hands and read through Leonardo da
Vinci's bold statements of capabilities.
A resume needs to enticing. Not a
laundry list/standard bio that talks about
you, but the marketing piece that talks
about the benefits to your future employer
and how you fit into his or her needs and
desires. The translation of this letter is quite
"Most Illustrious Lord, Having now
sufficiently considered the specimens
of all those who proclaim themselves
skilled contrivers of instruments of war,
and that the invention and operation
of the said instruments are nothing
different from those in common use:
I shall endeavor, without prejudice to
any one else, to explain myself to your
Excellency, showing your Lordship my
secret, and then offering them to your best
pleasure and proven to work with effect
at opportune moments on all those
things which, in part, shall be briefly
noted below.
I have an extremely light and strong
bridges, adapted to be easily carried,
and with them you may pursue, and at
any time flee from the enemy; and others,
secure and indestructible by fire and
battle, easy and convenient to lift and
place. Also methods of burning and
destroying those of the enemy. I know
how, when a place is besieged, to take the
water out of the trenches, and make
endless variety of bridges, and covered
ways and ladders, and other machines
pertaining to such expeditions. If, by
reason of the height of the banks, or the
strength of the place and its position, it is
impossible, when besieging a place, to
avail oneself of the plan of bombardment,
I have methods for destroying every rock
or other fortress, even if it were founded
on a rock.
Again, I have kinds of mortars; most
convenient and easy to carry; and with
these I can fling small stones almost
resembling a storm; and with the
smoke of these cause great terror to
the enemy, to his great detriment and
With a fight at sea, I have kinds of many
machines most efficient for offense and
defense; and vessels which will resist
the attack of the largest guns and
powder and fumes.
I have means by secret and tortuous
mines and ways, made without noise, to
reach a designated spot, even if it were
needed to pass under a trench or a river.
I will make covered chariots, safe and
unattackable, which, entering among the
enemy with their artillery, there is no body
of men so great but they would break them.
And behind these, infantry could follow
quite unhurt and without any hindrance. In
case of need I will make big guns, mortars,
and light ordnance of fine and useful forms,
out of the common type.
Where the operation of bombardment
might fail, I would contrive catapults,
mangonels, trabocchi, and other machines
of marvelous efficacy and not in common
use. And in short, according to the variety
of cases, I can contrive various and endless
means of offense and defense.
In times of peace I believe I can give
perfect satisfaction and to the equal of any
other in architecture and the composition of
buildings public and private; and in guiding
water from one place to another.
I can carry out sculpture in marble, bronze,
or clay, and also I can do in painting
whatever may be done, as well as any other,
be he who he may.
And if any of the named things seem to
anyone to be impossible or not feasible,
I am most ready to make the experiment in
whatever place may please your Excellency
- to whom I comment myself with the
utmost humility".
You Can Learn From
da Vinci