The Creativity, Life & Works of

Leonardo da Vinci:

Seeing into the Heart of Things

with Mary Attwood

A 3-week course: Sunday 6th, 13th & 20th March 2022 – 3:00pm – 5:00pm
(UK time) via Zoom

‘We live in an age of celebrity, of flashes in the pan. But when it comes to Leonardo’s works, which supersede time and place, we have to realise that there is something more going on here, something beyond the pigment…’

Professor Martin Kemp

In this three week course, we will explore the nature of creativity through the life and works of Leonardo da Vinci. A name which barely needs an introduction, Leonardo and his works have become synonymous with the term ‘genius’, driven by an insatiable urge to explore the world of natural phenomena and what lay behind it. Yet Leonardo also encountered his own very human struggles and worked with immense persistence and resilience, incorporating a number of different qualities and cognitive faculties which co-existed alongside each other. Considered to be the archetypal renaissance person – a polymath – his paintings and drawings, his words and others’ descriptions and observations of him,  reveal the depth and breadth of qualities associated with the term ‘creativity’ and reach beyond the ‘ordinary’ world of the human to the ‘extraordinary’ in the cosmos.
What we find in Leonardo is a coming together of head, hands and heart/ imagination, which awaken the whole human and the world. 

We will consider the faculties of: Intelletto (higher Intellect), Invenzione (skill with discovery), Fantasia (imagination) and the Sensus communis (common sense) as fundamental aspects of creativity which Leonardo wrote about and developed, and the qualities of apprenticeship, imitatio and rebirth in their literal and deeper symbolic meaning. We will explore Leonardo’s mind and work with a ‘renaissance view’ – that is –  of a necessity for the broadest possible context for knowledge and understanding by also seeing through the lens of Leonardo’s contemporaries; of depth psychologists Carl Jung & James Hillman; of the neuroscientist Dr Iain McGilchrist; and art historians E.H Gombrich and Professor Martin Kemp, among others and glimpse the heart of things. 

This course will have a particular focus on deep engagement, on the nature of creativity and the creative process, his powers of both observation and receptivity, and an insight into his mind. We will follow Leonardo’s life chronologically through his work and words, and in doing so, consider the transformative effects on us, the learner, when we encounter his work through a deeper participation. 

​Below is a brief outline of the three weeks. 

Week One – Awakening & Apprenticeship – painting and a window to the world

Some of the areas we will cover will include – Leonardo’s early life in Vinci; Master and Apprentice – Verrocchio’s workshop in Florence;  painting the movements of the heart and the soul; the eye – seeing and looking, discovery and skill (invenzione), the discipline of draughtsmanship; human struggle. 

Some of the works of art we will cover will include –   St Jerome, Ginevra de’ Benci, The Annunciation (Uffizi),  The Adoration of the Magi; early drawings among others.


Week Two – Leaving the Master –  rebirth and beauty 

Some of the areas we will cover will include – the flourishing of gesture, expression and emotion; liminal places; the brain hemispheres and perspectival depth and space; coming into being; the seat of the soul and the sensus communis, rebirth, beauty and the flourishing of the imagination, the goddess and inspiration.

Some of the works of art we will cover will include – The Virgin of the Rocks; The Last Supper; the Sforza monument; Vitruvian man; anatomical drawings and other drawings; Lady with an Ermine among others.

Week Three – Seeing into the Heart of Things – the body and the living earth

Some of the areas we will cover will include – the coming together of imagination, intellect, skill and discovery and common sense (sensus communis); sfumato and the mystical; looking at and seeing through; final years and death.

Some of the works of art we will cover will include – Salvator Mundi; the mystery of the lost frescoes, The Mona Lisa; Leda and the Swan; the Centenarian;  Deluge drawings and more.  

BOOKING: Please note we are now using WorldPay for most of our transactions. Please be reassured that if you have a WorldPay receipt, we have received your payment. Therefore, your WorldPay receipt is confirmation of your registration. By registering for any of our courses/events, you agree to our terms and conditions. We will send you the Zoom link 24 hours prior to the start of each session. Please check your spam folder. Any queries, please contact


Mary Attwood is an art historian, writer, teacher, lecturer and a business creative. She is a co-director of the Centre for Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred and a co-founder of Iain McGilchrist’s platform, channelmcgilchrist. She was the founding Chairman of the Victoria Arts Society, and is also a qualified practitioner of yoga, meditation and mindfulness.

Mary holds an MA with distinction in Myth, Cosmology and the Sacred, and her thesis, ‘Rebirthing a Lost Vision of Renaissance Art’, researched quattrocento Florentine Renaissance art from a broad context of ancient Greek philosophy, the neuroscientific approach of Dr Iain McGilchrist’s thesis on the left and right hemispheres of the brain, archetypal psychology and Renaissance artistic approaches. She holds a BA hons degree in The History of Art from London University where her studies focused on Italian late medieval and Renaissance art and architecture. 

Mary’s teaching and research seeks to offer a broader understanding of art, not as an object to be analysed, but as an interface of perception, consciousness, epistemologies, psychological and philosophical knowing. For more information visit

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