I write this as a tribute to a public talk in New Acropolis school that I recently attended over the weekend. It triggered so many neurons in my brain.
(The creation of Adam by Michelangelo )
Why should we revere the Renaissance period in history?
If you ask me, I would say it’s because it wasn’t just an epoch. It was a stream of thought and rebirth. The very essence of being reborn to a whole new way of thinking. Man started seeing himself as responsible for his own life than being a passive observer to dogmatic ways of the society.
Who wouldn’t want to break from the chains of old ways of thinking ?
The very freedom of questioning and open spirit to explore the world using one’s discernment.
Man was fascinated with the idea of creating himself not to follow suit or be just another victim of mass production. The focus was on the balanced development of a human being.
There was a figure who was an exemplary to the idea of limitless capacity for self-development in mankind.
Guess who was the epitome of the renaissance period ? Leonardo Da Vinci. A polymath and the guy who showed us that a man has limitless capacity for self-development.
The Last Supper, Monalisa weren’t just paintings. They were the result of unbound imagination of an artist.
The Last supper took five years for its completion, not because it was difficult to conceive the artwork, but owing to the fact that Leonardo always left his work alone at ease without feeling the need to finish things within a deadline.
The beauty of the painting lies in the fact that Da Vinci experimented with different colours and pigments to bring out the essence of the theme which was Jesus having his last supper with his disciples before his betrayal.
Da Vinci was not attached to his work. To be precise, he wasn’t attached to the idea of his work turning out in a specific charted way, rather he didn’t mind it not following a preconceived method of execution at all. Many a time he didn’t even mind his work getting destroyed as he wasn’t afraid of beginning over and over again.
That sense of attachment that one’s creation once begun has to churn out a designated result and come out as a masterpiece was not seen in his demeanour. He let it go and instead just focused on creating and being in the moment.
(The Last Supper by Da Vinci)
Continuous learning and growth
When does growth happen ?
When you are open to learning further and realise there is always scope for more things to sink into your life.
Go back inside yourself and look hard. Be the sculptor of yourself. Remove the superfluous and straighten the crooked. Never stop sculpting your statue.
We usually have a skewed concept of what freedom entails. Freedom wasn’t disconnected from the divine in the renaissance period. It was characterised by a search for unity. A movement away from separation and fear…
The modern man often has the urge to escape from all things considered to be sublime and lofty, to exude an uber “I am so cool “ demeanour. Little does he know, his strength comes from the source which created him.
We live in fear most of the times. Do we ever realise it actually boils down to a state of separation and isolation ? When we come from fear, we see ourselves as different from others. Love is unity. Not because it sounds good to hear it but love brings all elements together. It binds. Where do we seek out the essential ? It is time to re-establish the harmony within and around us.
Man is like a dome that connects the connects the lower part of himself to the higher self( representing a vault of heaven).
What virtues can you imbibe from Renaissance?
To look at the seed and see the tree. To see the tree as a projection of the seed. Imagination is that invisible potential that lets you shoot an arrow into the future.
Constant search for next challenge
It’s challenges that make us grow and not get comfortable with looks just fine or would suffice.
Da Vinci didn’t just want to paint The Last Supper but he also turned a mathematician while doing so.
He used geometry to express Jesus’s body in the painting. It’s interesting that if you look hard and measure the outline of Christ’s body, it’s like an equilateral triangle. His knowledge of how light strikes the retina helped him develop his perspective while working on ‘The Last Supper’.
Deep connection with nature
Align with nature’s crosscurrents and revere the harmony of its patterns. They serve as an anchor in every form of creativity you indulge in.
Rely on experience
Build conviction based on your experience. Be a disciple of your experiences as they help you figure out things in life that might seem otherwise intimidating.
Work within constraints
Da Vinci was supplied with materials to complete his sculpture but when war broke out in the country where he was at work, those very same supplies went to the manufacturing of ammunition. Boy, he did learn the importance of working within the constraints of his present reality.
Who said we need to be a specialist only in one discipline ? Leonardo was as good a scientist as an artist. He busted the false idea that one cannot be artistic and practical at the same time. He drew the prototype of the first helicopter and also invented anemometer( instrument used to measure speed of wind) while he also managed to paint the epic ‘Monalisa’.
The cult of the specialist is gone. You can be anything and everything that you want in life.
Love, freedom and search for the infinite were the main values embodied by the renaissance.
I think we all can carry this spirit within us and find little areas of our life where we can make these virtues come alive in action.
Last but the most important suggestion, leave this wasteland of experts that the current society has created. You can be a Mozart in music and a Euler in math and you do have the right to dabble in every avenue without limiting your self.