Listen to what Leonardo thought of the deluge and zoom into his hurricane drawing.
Leonardo lived through what the Chinese are fond of calling “interesting times” – “may you live in interesting times” being a terribly polite but vicious insult. For him, witnessing death would have been a fairly common occurrence, although no less of a disaster for its frequency.
Today, we can reasonably expect to travel safely from place to place and are deeply shocked when disaster strikes. Yet in his imagination (which is by far the safest place from which to view these thing), Leonardo could conjure up images of:
“Darkness, wind, tempest at sea, deluge of water, forests on fire, rain, bolts from heaven, earthquakes and the collapse of mountains, razing of cities. Whirlwinds which sweep water, boughs of trees and men through the air. Windtorn branches with people on top of them, caught up in the path of the winds… Herds of beasts, hailstones, thunder and lightning, whirlwinds.”
Most of us have to switch the television on to get the impression of being close to such things, but Leonardo could experience them in his imagination where, let’s face it, the picture was always so much better.