Anxious to reproduce nature as realistically as possible in his paintings, Leonardo da Vinci discovered a mathematical rule that describes the growth of trees.
“All the branches of the trees, at each degree of their height, are equal to the thickness of their trunk”
he had written in his notebooks.
In more current language: the sum of the diameters of the branches which start from the trunk at a given height is equal to the diameter of the trunk at this same height.
A conservation of the sizes that he had also logically observed on the rivers: by summing the widths of the tributaries, we find that of the main watercourse.
A new twist on the origins of Salvator Mundi
Without knowing it, the Renaissance scientist had described a mathematical structure called a fractal.
A point verified in the 20th century by Benoît Mandelbrot, the “father” of these strange geometric objects whose patterns repeat themselves regardless of the scale at which they are observed.
The rule of thumb is not perfect, and only applies...
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