Guest Column | September 21, 2020

Leonardo da Vinci Water Quotes

Jim Lauria

By Jim Lauria

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While reviewing a mind map (a practice I picked up from the Maestro himself) for the article What Leonardo da Vinci Can Teach Us About Water, I came across a list of my favorite Leonardo water quotes...

  1. "Water is the driver of nature.”
  2. “As man has a pool of blood in which the lungs rise and fall in breathing, so the body of the earth has its ocean tide which likewise rises and falls every six hours, as if the world breathed.”
  3. “Stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind.”
  4. "When you put your hand in a flowing stream, you touch the last that has gone before and the first of what is still to come."
  5. “The same cause which moves fluids in all kinds of living bodies against the natural course of gravity also propels water through veins of the Earth.”
  6. “Descending water will never raise from its resting place an amount of water equal to its weight.”
  7. “Water is the vital humor of the arid earth, flowing with unceasing vehemence through the ramifying veins, it replenishes all the parts.”
  8. “How with a few stones a river can be diverted, if one understands the line of its current.”
  9. “Why is it that I do not describe my method for remaining underwater and how long I can remain there without coming up for air? I do not wish to publish this because of the evil nature of men, who might use it to murder on the sea bed.”
  10. “As the blood veins originate in that pool and spread all over the human body, so likewise the ocean sea fills the body of the earth with infinite springs of water.”
  11. “When you put together the science of the motions of water, remember to include under each proposition its application, in order that this science may not be useless.”
  12. “He who has access to the fountain does not go to the water-jar.”
  13. “The action of a pole drawn through still water resembles that of running water against a stationary pole.”
  14. “All the branches of a river at every stage of its course, if they are of equal rapidity, are equal to the body of the main stream.”

    And finally…

  15. “Water is sometimes sharp and sometimes strong, sometimes acid and sometimes bitter, sometimes sweet and sometimes thick or thin, sometimes it is seen bringing hurt or pestilence, sometime health-giving, sometimes poisonous. It suffers change into as many natures as are the different places through which it passes. And as the mirror changes with the color of its subject, so it alters with the nature of the place, becoming noisome, laxative, astringent, sulfurous, salty, incarnadined, mournful, raging, angry, red, yellow, green, black, blue, greasy, fat or slim. Sometimes it starts a conflagration, sometimes it extinguishes one; is warm and is cold, carries away or sets down, hollows out or builds up, tears or establishes, fills or empties, raises itself or burrows down, speeds or is still; is the cause at times of life or death, or increase or privation, nourishes at times and at others does the contrary; at times has a tang, at times is without savor, sometimes submerging the valleys with great floods. In time and with water, everything changes.”