Leonardo da Vinci, born in 1452 and died in 1519, was an Italian polymath of the Renaissance. He was an obsessively curious man, which explains why he was everything from a painter to an inventor. He always knew that there was something more to be discovered, and he incorporated aspects such as science, math, and art to create several of his masterpieces. He was constantly looking for meaning in everything around him.
Below, Leonardo's 5 big personality traits will be discussed. This includes openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism. All of these traits tend to remain similar throughout a person's lifetime.
1. Openness: High
Due to his curious nature, Leonardo was high in openness. As expressed in his journal entries, he was constantly questioning the things he was seeing and learning about. He became interested in theories that sought to answer questions such as why the sky appears to be blue or why a fish in the water is swifter than a bird in the air. Throughout his life, he also had a variety of interests. He was a talented painter, his most notable work being the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, an inventor responsible for the conceptualizations of a human-powered flying machine, the parachute, etc., and had a high passion for subjects such as science and mathematics.
2. Conscientiousness: Moderate
Leonardo's journals were often messy due to good paper being expensive at that time and he made sure to use every edge and corner of a page. He was also disciplined in the sense that he always seemed to be working on something. However, he was easily distracted and often procrastinated because "men of lofty genius sometimes accomplish the most when they work the least" (Issacson, 521). Because of these factors, he had a moderate level of conscientiousness. Occasionally, he would also lead his patrons on by agreeing to do a painting for them and then not following through with it, even if he had had the intention to complete them (307).
3. Extraversion: Moderately High
Leonardo was known to have many friends because of his charming and attractive nature which shows that he had moderately high extraversion. He was stimulated by being with people of diverse interests and believed that drawing in company was much better than alone. Although his grandfather and uncle had lived the quiet country life, Leonardo knew he was meant for a different path. He needed a stimulating and somewhat crowded environment, which is why he spent a significant amount of time in Florence (24).
4. Agreeableness: High
Leonardo was described in early accounts as being "well-proportioned and graceful" as well as a charming conversationalist and sweet and gentle to people and animals. This shows that he was high in agreeableness. Giorgio Vasari, also an Italian painter during the Renaissance, describes Leonardo by saying "his great presence brought comfort to the most troubled soul." Vasari also talks about how Leonardo was known to share his blessings by saying "He was so generous that he sheltered and fed all his friends, rich or poor" (130). Paolo Giovio, a contemporary who had met Leonardo in Milan, describes Leonardo as "friendly, precise, and generous, with a radiant, graceful expression."
5. Neuroticism: Moderate
Due to the dark and troubled times mentioned in Leonardo's journal entries, it is clear he had a moderate level of neuroticism. At one point, he states that "while I thought that I was learning how to live, I have been learning how to die." This was expressed during a period of frustration when he felt as if he wasn't making a name for himself yet. Due to being a perfectionist, it was difficult for him to feel satisfied with his work. He began to experience some inner turmoil when he found himself unable to finish some of his paintings such as Adoration of the Magi and Saint Jerome. In another melancholic journal entry, featuring a drawing of a water clock and sundial, he expresses his troubled thoughts on his unfinished work by saying, "We do not lack devices for measuring these miserable days of ours, in which it should be our pleasure that they be not frittered away without leaving behind any memory of ourselves in the mind of men" (88).
Isaacson, W. (2017). Leonardo da Vinci. Simon & Schuster Paperbacks.
Leonardo da Vinci
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.