Drawing of a botanical study - by Leonardo da Vinci

Among the major innovations of the Renaissance, and no doubt the most far-reaching in its impact, was the rehabilitation or rediscovery of nature as a positive entity. Indeed, according to one Vincian scholar, the Renaissance made nature its religion, "sought God in nature." For Leonardo, rational knowledge was based on the experience of the senses: man's role was to observe nature as attentively and completely as possible.

Da Vinci's sketches of the plant and animal world suggest his love and respect for the works of nature, whether he was preparing studies for a larger painting or observing nature.