The Great Artist Leonardo Da Vinci, and His Famous Works the Last Supper and Mona Lisa
In the late 1400s, Leonardo Da Vinci used his various natural-born talents to shape the world as we know it today. Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest Renaissance men of all time. The great artist was born April 15, 1452, in Vinci Italy out of unwed parents. His father was a public notary meaning a person authorized to perform legal formalities. His was mother a young peasant girl. Leonardo was the only child of his parents’, but he had 17 other half-siblings from his parents’ new partners. Though Leonardo was raised in a higher class with his father, he would not inherit family estate because he was an illegitimate son, which meant he had to build his future for himself. Leonardo’s future and status would be dependent on his talents. Leonardo did not even get his father’s last name, which is why they called him Leonardo Da Vinci which meant of Vinci. Leonardo grew up in Vinci which was 22 miles outside of Florence. This period was called the Renaissance since European people were beginning to become interested in art. They wanted their cities houses churches to be filled with beautiful statues and paintings. Leonardo never really got a proper education from what boys of his status would’ve received. Leonardo was the self-taught genius.
At age fourteen Leonardo learned with famous artist Andrea del Verrocchio for an apprenticeship of nine years. In 1466, Leonardo traveled to Florence become an apprentice in Andrea del Verrocchio’s art studio, who was one of the best artist and sculptors in Florence. Leonardo learned technical skills, engineering techniques, chemistry, but most importantly, skills of drawing painting, and sculpting. After 6 years of learning under Andrea del Verrocchio, he worked as his third eye, and Leonardo decided it was his time to continue to excel in his career. In 1472, at age 20 Leonardo was offered membership to Florence artists guild but stayed with Verrocchio. At that time he was becoming a massive artist in Saint Luke. Where he not only put in one branch of art but all that art takes part in. In 1482, Leonardo moves to Milan taking commissions from wealthy patrons. He was now 30 and wrote a letter to the ruler of Milan listing reasons he should be given the job, he spoke about his engineering skills. He ends up working for the Duke of Milan. The Duke was eager to use Leo’s many talents, especially ideas for designing war machines, or war strategy methods. At that time Leo painted the virgin of the rocks a painting of Mary and Christ which was later on remade. Leonardo was going through a midlife crisis and decided he needed a break from art and to move on to something else In 1495 Leo begins working on a painting for the monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, where he also painted The Last Supper. Left Milan to Venice in 1499 when the French army invaded. In 1502, Leo moves to Cessna Italy where local military leader, Cesare Borgia hired Leo as his architect and military engineer, to come up with plans to build a canal traveling from Cessna to Adriatic sea. Leonardo returns back to Florence in 1503 where he begins painting a large mural, as well as the Mona Lisa. The time is 1513, and Leonardo went to work for the Roman Pope Leo the 10th and stayed about 3 years where he practiced dissections where he established the basis of anatomy. In his final years, in 1516 Leo goes to Amboise France where he became a highly respected artist, so respected the King of France offered Leo a home in this northern French town which was the center of French court. Working on his notebooks science studies, and inventions the time of Leo’s death comes and he dies peacefully in 1519 in the arms of the French king.
Leonardo was not just called a Renaissance Man for his art, but his many contributions that truly changed the world. Some say Leo was 100 years before his time. Leonardo’s path all started from his love of nature since he paid attention to extreme detail. Leo studied properties of plants, observed motion of heaven, the path of the moon, and course of the sun. Leonardo was one of the most famous painters of all time since he was so unique and precise. Leonardo made his own paint, painted his figures without outlining them like most people did, and made the shadowy part of the people in the portraits almost completely blend into the mysterious background making it seem 3 dimensional. Leonardo really focused on the background of the painting bringing it to life. Leonardo’s most famous painting The Mona Lisa is still one of the most famous of all time. Leonardo worked on The Mona Lisa in 1503-1506 in Florence Italy. How did the Mona Lisa become so famous? Leonardo experimented when drawing the painting and decided to do it different from most paintings. In The Mona Lisa she is posing differently than in most portraits which established a new famous style of portrait style that is still standard today.
Another interesting fact about the Mona Lisa is when you focus on her lips, it’s as if she’s frowning, but as you keep looking it looks as if she’s smiling. Also wherever you look, Mona Lisa is looking you in the eyes. Another famous painting by Leonardo is The Last Supper. Leo painted The Last Supper in 1498 in Santa Maria Delle Grazie dining hall in Milan, Italy. The Last Supper was Jesus’ last meal with all his the people he cared for it shows extreme detail, pain, surprise, happiness. When Judas knocked over Salt it started the superstition of spilling salt brings bad luck. Another one of Leonardo’s many famous paintings is the Vitruvian man. Leonardo drew the Vitruvian man in 1490, the drawing combines art, math and science in one. The man in the Vitruvian man drawing was thought to be a young version of Leo himself the picture perfectly proportioned, it was a reflection on human proportion and architecture also symbolised the connection of human form and the universe. In the drawing there is a man perfectly proportion in a circle and a square. Leonardo’s study of proportion as well as his desire to relate man to nature Leonardo gave the people in his paintings a feeling of movement and being alive, he used dark shadows and light colors to make what he was painting seem to come towards you and away from the painting. Leonardo studied optics how light rays strike the cornea and produced magical illusions of changing visual perspectives. Leo also contributed to science starting the foundation of what we believe today. He studied the properties of air, the way light reflects on objects, and much more. He was also an engineer, one of his main contributions, flight. He wanted to find a way to get human to fly from observing birds and their flight, and how they utilized the air currents and wind. He invented the first parachute it was about seven meters long, and if someone used it when falling off a great height would not get injured at all.
Another flying invention Leo designed was the Ornithopter that had manually powered wings, when the wings flapped it flew just like a bird. Leo also invented items to help the military such as Tanks, a Giant crossbow, a Robotic soldier, and a Scuba suit design for breathing underwater. Leonardo invented objects to ease his life. Such as a portable bridge that was 240 meters, that went across the gulf of Istanbul, Turkey. Designs for mills, fulling machines, engines that could be driven by water power, the way to raise and draw heavyweights, methods for emptying harbours, and pumps for removing water from low places. He also made inventions to help with the chaos around him such as the creation of pedestrian streets in centers of cities, and designs to reboot rivers. One of Leonardo’s main contributions was the basis on human anatomy. Leo spent a lot of time doing human dissection where he recorded all he saw in detailed drawing in his notebooks. Leonardo even found out how arteries work and that they clog over time which leads to heart attacks. He was also a skilled sculptor, he made clay heads of smiling women and men by laying soft pieces of cloth then dipped them in clay, next he drew them on a Rheims cloth and he painted them in black and white with the point of his brush. Leo used his hands carefully to get perfect streaks and details. Lastly, Leonardo was an architect. He made drawings of ground-plans and of other designs of buildings, suggested the plan of reducing the river Arno to a ship canal from Pisa to Florence, and made designs of flour-mills, fulling mills, and engines, all driven by the force of water.
Leonardo brought many riches and contributions to our world. He was a man hundreds of years ahead of his time, and made sure he was great in not only one thing but everything he set his mind to. Leo left us a wealth of lessons and inventions to continue on. Leo wrote down everything in his notebooks which had over 35,000 words and 500 sketches. Though during his lifetime Leo lived a good life, his riches and lasting legacy came after his death. Leo was one of the smartest and most creative people of all time. Leonardo can teach us all, if he was able to succeed in all he set his mind to, surely we can succeed if we truly focus and reach towards our goals.
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