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Leonardo measured everything. He compounded his artist eye for accuracy with a scientist's passion for precision. As there were few standard tools, Leonardo invented his own. He measured the petals of violets, he scaled fine maps of cities, he computed the height of mountains. Not confined to straight lines, he bent measurers to count water flow, wind speed, and humidity. His study of the proportions of a man inscribed in a circle and square is a touchstone of Renaissance sensibility. It announces that man is the measurer of all things.
Leonardo's imagination was not measured. He used the grid of the artist's canvas to extrapolate maps beyond horizons. With fossils in the strata of a hillside, he measured the age of the earth. He saw in the metrics of a bird's wing a vision of his own flight.
Each of us can remember the first ruler that we carried to school: in the beginning useful for drawing lines, hinting at important reckoning yet to come. You may recall improvising applications for that ruler that were neither straight nor measured. A paradox of creativity: sometimes invention requires a broken rule.
That's the Challenge: Find a ruler (or rulers…a promising beginning for many creative enterprises.) But: build with, or on, or around the ruler. Play with the ruler's materials, its edges, its calibrations...or its meanings. Let your imagination rule.
Leonardo daVinci painted with unrivaled vision, compiled science with modern logic, and invented with pure imagination. The Leonardo Challenge celebrates one of his inventions: improvisational creativity. One hundred artists, designers, and playful spirits will transform a common object – this year: rulers – with wit, whimsy and artistry.
The April 23rd Benefit will revel in their creativity. Through their generosity, and yours, the evening will support workshops and outreach for a new generation of Leonardos.
Koffee on Audubon