The Eye is the Window of the Soul


Where does that quote come from?  A beautifully illustrated new book by master biographer Walter Isaacson attributes it to Leonardo da Vinci.  Or it’s fair to say, at the very least, that da Vinci popularized it.

Isaacson - da Vinci

“The eye, which is said to be the window of the soul, is the principal means by which the brain’s sensory receptor may fully and magnificently contemplate the infinite works of nature … Hearing is less noble than sight; as soon as it is born it dies, and its death is as swift as its birth.”  Isaacson notes that Leonardo argued that painting was as much an art as a science: “In order to convey three-dimensional objects on a flat surface, the painter needs to understand perspective and optics.  These are sciences grounded in mathematics.  Therefore, painting is a creation of the intellect as well as the hands.”

Isaacson relates da Vinci’s admission that he was a man “without letters”, and thus could not read all of the classic books, but as a painter he did something more glorious, which was to read nature.

So does this intimate that da Vinci was dyslexic?  Perhaps …

2 thoughts on “The Eye is the Window of the Soul

  1. Hi Len,
    Reference in gospel of Matthew re. eye is window of soul.
    Thanks for your writing, big help professionally, and fun to read!
    Tod Davis

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