Virgil Elliott wrote:
I know that the potential of the human mind today is every bit what
it was in the days of Leonardo. People just do not work as hard at
developing it these days, at least in as great diversity as was once
the case. There is no legitimate reason why people cannot master more
than one thing. The fullest potential of the human brain is seldom
To elaborate further, I should point out that Michelangelo was not only a sculptor and painter, excellent at both, but also an architect and poet. Leonardo was highly regarded as a musician and singer in addition to his painting, and was employed at various times as an engineer, musician, and weapons designer, besides his high acclaim as a great artist. Vasari mentions other artists who were adept at playing the lute, etc. John Singer Sargent played guitar and piano, and sang. Sir Joshua Reynolds wrote eloquently; likewise, Whistler. Sir Charles Lock Eastlake, mostly known for his writings today, was no slouch at painting. Military camouflage was invented by an artist (was it Abbott Thayer?), as was the Morse Code. Rubens was a highly accomplished diplomat and master of several languages. And I understand Caravaggio was pretty good with a sword.