Leonardo da Vinci - Jara da CIMRMAN

Dear friends cimrmanologists, ladies and gentlemen, what we all have suspected for a long time has finally become the truth. By an extensive study of archives in Bristol, England and elsewhere we were able to establish beyond any doubt that Jara da Cimrman is a great-great-great...(n times)...great grandson of the great Leonardo da Vinci. Using modern methods of comparison analysis we were able to trace out the full genealogy of Cimrman's family to the beginning of the 16th century when Leonardo begot a son, Pietro Luciano, who became Jara's great-great-great...(n-1 times)...great grandfather.

But that's only the beginning. We have also found that Cimrman's great...grandmother was none other than the famous Mona Lisa (originally spelled Monna Lisa). This almost lost genealogical link finally explains one of the biggest puzzles of Cimrman's biography: Where did the Master's famous "enigmatic smile" come from? By visiting the Louvre Museum in Paris a reader can now see for himself where indeed Cimrman's "zahadny usmev" (as it is called in Czech) came from. There exist numerous records of instances when people enchanted by Cimrman's smile came spontaneously to him and cordially shook hands with him or at least patted him on the shoulders (and sometimes on the head). In Prague's police archives we even found the following entry:"A citizen Cimrman Jarda (an obvious misprint of an investigating officer), while walking on the Narodni Street, was robbed by a pickpocket who, upon being smiled upon, returned a stolen watch and a golden chain to the said citizen. After 8-10 minutes of additional smiling he gave the citizen Cimrman all of his loot (an equivalent of today's $11.38) plus his brand new tweed jacket." Such was the power of Jara's enigmatic smile. It is needless to say that Cimrman used the abovementioned money to improve his automatic Pocket Alarm System.

Another person who had first hand experience with Cimrman's enigmatic smile was Jan Pospisil, the mayor of the town of Hradec Kralove, who traveled with Cimrman on the same train in the summer of 1908. Cimrman was (according to Pospisil's memoirs) seated in the same compartment and smiled at him without any interruption for 3 hours. That eventually prodded Pospisil to comment to his neighbor "Co na me ten blbec furt cumi jako blbec?" ("Why is that moron staring at me like a moron?"). After Cimrman refused to change his facial expression, Pospisil left the compartement and locked himself in the bathroom. We are not going to pursue this line of investigation, however, and will return to the origins of Cimrman's genealogy. We will first direct our attention to Florence where Leonardo da Vinci lived and worked in 1503-1506.

The Florentine Republic commissioned Leonardo to execute a large fresco of the battle of Anghiari for one of the walls in the Palazzo della Signioria, which took most of Leonardo's time during that period. It is clear that work on such a prominent job made Leonardo acquainted with Florentine's elite society. Soon he enamored many women who, not having much to do anyway, were naturally attracted to the fierce and inspiring presence of a genius. Among them was the beautiful wife of a merchant Francesco del Giocondo, Mona Lisa. The history of her famous portrait is well-known. Perhaps less well- known is the fact that Leonardo and Lisa had a clandestine and passionate affair in 1504-1505, when Francesco del Giocondo was out of town on a long-term journey connected with his trade. At that time, Leonardo's amazing fertility brought an unexpected fruit in the form of Lisa's (not quite wanted) pregnancy. By pretending to be ill, she managed to hide her state from the world and on October 28th, 1505, secretly gave birth to a boy named Pietro Luciano.

It is an interesting historical coincidence that Leonardo himself was born out of wedlock, as an illegitimate son of Master Piero and his companion Catherina. These two can be thus considered Cimrman's great-great..(n+1 times)..great grandparents even though they didn't give Leonardo his second name. As a matter of fact, the name da Vinci actually refers to the place of his birth, rather than to his family. The reader can find more about this in any of the standard biographies. And now back to our story.

Needless to say, young Pietro Luciano was raised in a foster family and saw his father only rarely and indeed discreetly. When Pietro reached the age of 11, Leonardo came to the conclusion that boy's further presence in Italy was undesirable and he used his influence with Giuliano dei Medici (the brother of Pope Leo X) to send Pietro to a private school in France and later to a famous sculpture workshop in Bristol. And there, on the border of England, the young man bumped into a rather obnoxious immigration clerk and the following conversation took place.

CLERK: May I see your papers, Sir?
CLERK: I see. Your name is da Vinci, is it not?
PIETRO: Yes, it is.
CLERK: But you must write here MR.
(pointing vaguely somewhere in the immigration form)
PIETRO: (puzzled) What for?
CLERK: So that everybody knows, that you are a MAN.

Well, Pietro didn't want to have any troubles with the immigration office (a wise move even these days) and played it safe by writing "Pietro Luciano da Vinci, Mr., Man" into the blank for his name. The reckless clerk then copied the name from the form onto the official documents, where it read "Pietro Luciano da Vincimrman". Pietro noticed the error immediately, but having in mind father's incognito, decided to keep the new name.

After Leonardo died (1519), Pietro chose not to return to Italy and settled down in Bristol. He married the daughter of one of his teachers and, over the years, his family became one of the most respectable and honorable families in Bristol. Moreover, due to Leonardo's genes which were carried from generation to generation, many of its members became famous for their advances in either a scientific or an artistic field. To name only a few, let us mention Pietro's son, a sculptor Lodovico da Vincimrman, who greatly perfected the techniques of large scale sculpting (see the Appendix 1) and later Kevin da Vincimrman (an assistant to James Watt), who became quite instrumental in the development of the famous "steam engine" in the 1760s (see Appendix 2). Among the famous women in the Vincimrman family we must highlight two: Anne-Marie, a distinguished professor of anatomy at the University of Bristol (see Appendix 3) and Lisa-Marie, a famous sopranist in the Church choir, who was the only person in the world who could sing "Rule Britannia" backwards, while holding a piece of cheese on tip of her tongue. Finally, we want to mention a botanist Peter da Vincimrman (1778-1841), whose nephew Charles da Rwincimrman (sometimes also shortened to da Rwin or simply Darwin) revolutionized biology by introducing evolution.

Another reason why we have singled Peter out of the host of the famous Vincimrmans is that, in the spring of 1799, he was offered a scientific position at the botanical garden in Vienna. Owing to this offer, part of the Vincimrman family had to relocate for the first time in nearly 300 years. Shortly after his arrival in Vienna, Peter realized that the name da Vincimrman is too unfamiliar for the Austrians and changed it first to Vinzimmerman and later to a simple Zimmerman. It was only 2 generations later that his grandson Leopold returned to the original form of the name "Cimrman". At this moment we will stop our investigation because the history of Cimrman family is documented elsewhere. It was our aim in this paper to establish a direct link between Leonardo and Jara and we hope that this has been acomplished. A sceptic reader is welcome to browse in the Office of Public Records in Florence, Bristol and Vienna, where most of our research was conducted.

Appendix 1. Besides being a first rate sculptor, Lodovico da Vincimrman was an addictive domino player. After he mastered the techniques of large stone handling, he conceived the idea of building a huge Domino Memorial, which would forever celebrate the pleasures of his favorite game. He picked the cheapest site in England, called Stonehenge, and spent over 23 years building one of the most fascinating domino tributes of all time. Piece by piece, he arranged large rocks to resemble his favorite configuration. Due to the robustness of his sculpting, the ruins of the Stonehenge Monument still exist and attract many tourists who visit England. Unfortunately, none of the experts could believe that this masterpiece of monolith sculpting could originate in the 16th century and its origins were placed to 1400-1600 BC. That, of course, was equally ridiculous but, being farther away in the history, it was more difficult to argue with. To make the farce complete the archaelogists proclaimed that the site served as a primitive astronomic observatory for barbaric tribes inhabiting the British Isles at that time and this remained the official version of the Stonehenge origin up to now. (Yeah, right. Like folks around 1500 BC gave a damn about the position of Alpha Centauri.)

Appendix 2. Kevin da Vincimrman was a talented engineer, whose brilliant ideas brought him soon to the attention of James Watt. Kevin, who studied in London, noticed that fog very often rapidly expands and decided to use this expansion to propel a small cart. He hoped that his "fog-engine" would oust the outdated horse-carts from the streets of London. He made a few prototypes and, relying on the recommendation of his guru James Watt, tried to push the proposal through the City Council. We won't bore the reader by explaining technical details of his engine and will concentrate on the results. During the first weeks of its trial running, the fog-engine achieved very good performance parameters. It carried up to 22 passengers (compared to maximum 8 for a horse-cart) and would attain a speed of 22 mph (compared to 15 for horse-carts). Unfortunately, some gadfly from the Royal Academy of Sciences noticed that the fog-engine-carts ran well only downhill, while uphill they had to be towed by horses. Upon this expertise, the final meeting of the Public Transportation Board did not recommend the fog-engine for commercial use.

During a bout of despair, Kevin set his invention on fire and left. James Watt, who watched the whole incident, stayed and to his surprise noticed that the heated remains of fog in the piston were turned into steam and the whole engine started moving all by itself. It took just a few technical adjustments and James Watt became famous. The steam engine was born. What happened to Kevin is not known. He disappeared from London and was last seen in the norwegian town of Trondheim buying 20 pairs of skis and heading north. Some 40 years later, when selling his belongings, his relatives came across sketches of a paper entitled "Melting icebergs by placing vibrating skis on them". However, it is possible that even this idea had a small glitch, since there is still an awful lot of icebergs up there. It is also possible that Jara's own expedition to the North Pole was partially motivated by an effort to find traces of Kevin's activity and continue his work on iceberg melting. This might provide an interesting alternative explanation of thawing of the polar ice cap, so far attributed to the so called "global warming".

Appendix 3: Professor Anne-Marie da Vincimrman was a first female professor of anatomy in England. As a matter of fact, to obtain her degree, she had to be dressed as a man because women at that time were not permitted to obtain higher education. Such humiliation at her graduation left a deep imprint on her personality and she probably became a first recorded feminist. Thus it is not surprising that she devoted a considerable part of her time to the fight for women's rights in England. Besides writing her 83 volume treatise "The role of women in the history of England", she improved many medical techniques, started a campaign which resulted in the abolition of chastity belts and promoted a thorough study of the differences between male and female anatomy. She was also the author of a lovely booklet "How to panic while swimming". Last but not least, Anne-Marie facilitated women's practical life by inventing a bra. The legend has it that she was inspired to this by walking behind her husband, who was carrying a backpack full of apples during one of their hiking trips. It is really difficult to overemphasize how much the science of England owes to an apple.

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