It was this dream of human perfectibility that animated artists like Michelangelo, and, perhaps, forever rendered Leonardo unable to relinquish voluntarily any of his more serious artistic projects. As Vasari writes, “Leonardo, with his profound intelligence of art, commenced various undertakings, many of which he never completed, because it appeared to him that the hand could never give its due perfection to the object or purpose which he had in his thoughts, or beheld in his imagination.” Through his many episodes of alleged procrastination, we see an artist who engages with the irresolvable conflict between unlimited aspiration and the acknowledgment of human limitation.

W.A. Pannapacker, “How to Procrastinate Like Leonardo da Vinci”