Leonardo da Vinci suffered from ADHD; disorder impacted his life and career

Leonardo da vinci
Wikimedia Commons

Leonardo da Vinci, the legendary Italian artist known for his painting 'Mona Lisa' might have suffered from Attention Deficit and Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), a new research report says. The study led by King's College London researcher Professor Marco Catani suggested that the legendary artist had struggled a lot to complete his works, and this might be due to ADHD.

The study report published in the journal Brain details about historical accounts like Leonardo da Vinci's work practices and behavior 500 years ago. During the study, researchers found that Leonardo da Vinci had a problem in concentrating on a particular work for a considerable amount of time, and it might be the indication that he had suffered from ADHD. The research report also added that ADHD might be the reason behind da Vinci's extraordinary creativity and outstanding achievements across various areas of arts and sciences.

"'While impossible to make a post-mortem diagnosis for someone who lived 500 years ago, I am confident that ADHD is the most convincing and scientifically plausible hypothesis to explain Leonardo's difficulty in finishing his works. Historical records show Leonardo spent excessive time planning projects but lacked perseverance. ADHD could explain aspects of Leonardo's temperament and his strange mercurial genius," said professor Catani in a recent statement.

Researchers also revealed that Leonardo's inability to stick on to a task was pervasive from childhood. Several accounts from biographers indicate that the legendary artist used to skip from one task to another, and as a result, many of his works went incomplete. He also slept very little, and he loved to work day and night with short naps at irregular intervals.

The report also talked about the positive effects ADHD created in the life of Leonardo. As per researchers, ADHD fuelled creativity and originality in the mind of Leonardo, and it helped him to emerge as one of the all-time iconic personalities in the world of both arts and sciences.

Catani also added that this new finding could help to change some of the stigma associated with ADHD and other related conditions.

"It is incredible that Leonardo considered himself as someone who had failed in life. I hope that the case of Leonardo shows that ADHD is not linked to low IQ or lack of creativity but rather the difficulty of capitalizing on natural talents. I hope that Leonardo's legacy can help us to change some of the stigmas around ADHD," added Catani.