A painter should begin every canvas with a wash of black, because all things in nature are dark except where exposed by the light.
Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.
All sciences are vain and full of errors that are not born of Experience, the mother of all Knowledge.
They will say that I, having no literary skill, cannot properly express that which I desire to treat of, but they do not know that my subjects are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words. And [experience] has been the mistress of those who wrote well. And so, as mistress, I will cite her in all cases. Though I may not, like them, be able to quote other authors, I shall rely on that which is much greater and more worthy: on experience, the mistress of their masters.
Quando ouvimos os sinos, ouvimos aquilo que já trazemos em nós mesmos como modelo. Sou da opinião que não se deverá desprezar aquele que olhar atentamente para as manchas da parede, para os carvões sobre a grelha, para as nuvens, ou para a correnteza da água, descobrindo, assim, coisas maravilhosas. O génio do pintor há-de se apossar de todas essas coisas para criar composições diversas: luta de homens e de animais, paisagens, monstros, demónios e outras coisas fantásticas. Tudo, enfim, servirá para engrandecer o artista.
Truth at last cannot be hidden. Dissimulation is of no avail. Dissimulation is to no purpose before so great a judge. Falsehood puts on a mask. Nothing is hidden under the sun.
Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.
The acquisition of knowledge is always of use to the intellect, because it may thus drive out useless things and retain the good. For nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known.
It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
If the painter wishes to see beauties that charm him, it lies in his power to create them, and if he wishes to see monstrosities that are frightful, ridiculous, or truly pitiable, he is lord and God thereof.
That which can be lost cannot be deemed riches. Virtue is our true wealth and the true reward of its possessor; it cannot be lost, it never deserts us until life leaves us. Hold property and external riches with fear; they often leave their possessor scorned and mocked at for having lost them.
Although nature commences with reason and ends in experience it is necessary for us to do the opposite, that is to commence with experience and from this to proceed to investigate the reason.
As iron rusts when not used, and water gets foul from standing or turns to ice when exposed to cold, so the intellect degenerates without exercise.-Leonard Da Vinci
I abhor the supreme folly of those who blame the disciples of nature in defiance of those masters who were themselves her pupils
Obstacles cannot crush me. Every obstacle yields to stern resolve. He who is fixed to a star does not change his mind.
Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, more simple or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.
As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.
The function of muscle is to pull and not to push, except in the case of the genitals and the tongue.
It is an acknowledged fact that we perceive errors in the work of others more readily than in our own.
If you are alone you belong entirely to yourself. If you are accompanied by even one companion you belong only half to yourself or even less in proportion to the thoughtlessness of his conduct and if you have more than one companion you will fall more deeply into the same plight.
I am fully conscious that, not being a literary man , certain presumptuous persons will think that they may reasonably blame me; alleging that I am not a man of letters. Foolish folks! do they not know that I might retort as Marius did to the Roman Patricians by saying: That they, who deck themselves out in the labours of others will not allow me my own. They will say that I, having no literary skill, cannot properly express that which I desire to treat of, but they do not know that my subjects are to be dealt with by experience rather than by words; and experience has been the mistress of those who wrote well. And so, as mistress, I will cite her in all cases.
The eye which turns from a white object in the light of the sun and goes into a less fully lighted place will see everything as dark.
If the painter has clumsy hands, he will be apt to introduce them into his works, and so of any other part of his person, which may not happen to be so beautiful as it ought to be. He must, therefore, guard particularly against that self-love, or too good opinion of his own person, and study by every means to acquire the knowledge of what is most beautiful, and of his own defects, that he may adopt the one and avoid the other.
To me it seems that those sciences are vain and full of error which are not born of experience, mother of all certainty, first-hand experience which in its origins, or means, or end has passed through one of the five senses. And if we doubt the certainty of everything which passes through the senses, how much more ought we to doubt things contrary to these senses – ribelli ad essi sensi – such as the existence of God or of the soul or similar things over which there is always dispute and contention. And in fact it happens that whenever reason is wanting men to cry out against one another, which does not happen with certainties. For this reason we shall say that where the cry of controversy is heard, there is no true science, because the truth has one single end and when this is published, argument is destroyed for ever.