Teaching Leonardo: An Integrated Approach - Renaissance Notebook Assignment

Author(s):
Rick Faloon

[Here is the basic assignment given to the students:]

Over the course of this trimester each of you will create pages for a Renaissance notebook inspired by the work of Leonardo Da Vinci and by other Renaissance artists.  The objective of this project is to give you an opportunity to perform like a Renaissance person by making your own observational sketches, perspective studies, mathematical calculations, scientific notes and drawings.

Your book must contain competent examples of the following:

Art

• Imagined creature drawing Blind contour drawing (palm of hand)
• Modified contour drawing (hand)
• Mechanical drawing (from boat or from mechanical objects in class)
• Leaf drawing (using contour in ink and pencil)
• Tonal drawing of torso (using chiaroscuro sfumato)
• Silverpoint drawing
• 10 quotations from Leonardo
• 10 quotes from others including the Vasari quotation (relating to Leonardo’s seven traits)
• Leonardo biography page
• List of seven traits of Leonardo with your commentary on your own traits
• Anatomy drawing from model   (with muscles labeled)
• Gesture drawings of figure (using ink, conte, etc)
• Facial expression drawing
• Backwards writing
• Master copies -Michelangelo back drawing (crosshatching)
•         Mantegna - Dead Christ (foreshortening)
•         3 copies of works of Leonardo or other Renaissance artists   (your choice)
• Art History images/pages with notes

Mathematics

• 2 drawings of Platonic Solids using 1 or 2 point perspective. Show area and volume
• Tiled Piazza in 1 point linear perspective. Show all measurements and correct perspective. Include quotation by Pierro della Francesca
• Vitruvian Man and Golden Mean
• Fibonacci Sequence
• Mathematical evaluation of a Renaissance Painting showing horizon line, vanishing point, orthogonal lines, eye point and correct ratios demonstrating correct linear perspective.

Science

• 2 Dissection drawings (done in science class in conjunction with dissection)
• Drawing of simple machine in Leonardo style; explanation of physics of mechanism

What follows is taken from the mathematics section of this project.

Rick Faloon, "Teaching Leonardo: An Integrated Approach - Renaissance Notebook Assignment," Convergence (October 2004)