Leonardo Da Vinci: Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian Renaissance architect, musician, anatomist, inventor, engineer, sculptor, geometre, and painter. Leonardo is famous for his masterly paintings, such as The Last Supper and Mona Lisa. He is also known for designing many inventions that anticipated modern technology but were rarely constructed in his lifetime.
Leonardo Da Vinci Life History Essay- Biography
Leonardo Da Vinci: Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in the small town of Vinci, near Florence, in Tuscany. He was the son of a wealthy Florentine notary and a peasant woman. In the mid-1460s, the family settled in Florence, where Leonardo was given the best education that Florence, a major intellectual and artistic centre of Italy, could offer. He rapidly advanced socially and intellectually. He was handsome, persuasive in conversation, and a fine musician and improviser.
In about 1466, he was apprenticed as a garzone (studio boy) to Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine painter and sculptor of his days. In Verrocchio’s workshop, Leonardo was introduced to many activities, from the painting of altarpieces and panel pictures to the creation of large sculptural projects in marble and bronze.
Leonardo da Vinci: The Ultimate Renaissance Man
In 1472, he was admitted to the painters’ guild of Florence, and in 1476, he was still considered Verrocchio’s assistant. In Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ (c. 1470, Uffizi, Florence), the kneeling angel in the left of the painting is by Leonardo.
In 1478, Leonardo became an independent master. His first commission, to paint an altarpiece for the chapel of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Florentine town hall, was never executed.
His first large painting, The Adoration of the Magi (Uffizi), begun in 1481 and left unfinished, was ordered for the monastery of San Donato a Scopeto, Florence. Other works ascribed to his youth are the so-called – Benois Madonna (c. 1478, Hermitage, St Petersburg), the portrait, Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1474, National Gallery, Washington, D.C.), and the unfinished, St Jerome (c. 1481, Pinacoteca, Vatican).
In about 1482, Leonardo entered the service of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, having written the duke an astonishing letter in which he stated that he could build portable bridges; that he knew the techniques of constructing bombardments and of making cannons; that he could build ships as well as armoured vehicles, catapults, and other war machines; and that he could execute sculpture in marble, bronze, and clay.
He served as the principal engineer in the duke’s numerous military enterprises and was also active as an architect. During his long stay in Milan, Leonardo produced various paintings and drawings, most of which are now lost, theatre designs, architectural drawings, and models for the dome of Milan Cathedral. His largest commission was for a colossal bronze equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza, father of Ludovico, for the courtyard of Castello Sforzesco.
In December 1499, however, the Sforza family was driven from Milan by French forces. Leonardo had made the clay model but contingency dictated that the metal intended for the statue be used for cannon instead. The model was destroyed by French archers, who used it as a target. Leonardo returned to Florence in 1500.
In 1502, he entered the service of Cesare Borgia, Duke of Romagna and son and chief general of Pope Alexander VI. In his capacity as the duke’s chief architect and engineer, Leonardo supervised work on the fortresses of the papal territories in central Italy. In 1503, he was a member of a commission of artists who were to decide on the proper location for Michelangelo’s statue of David (1501-1504, Accademia, Florence), and he also served as an engineer in the war against Pisa.
Towards the end of the year Leonardo began to design a decoration for the great hall of the Palazzo Vecchio. The subject was the Battle of Anghiari, a Florentine victory in the war with Pisa. He made many drawings for it and completed a full-size cartoon, in 1505, but he never finished the wall painting. The cartoon itself was destroyed in the 17th century, and the composition survives only in copies, of which the most famous (c 1615, Louvre) is the one by Peter Paul Rubens.
During this second Florentine period, Leonardo painted several portraits, but the only one that survives is the famous Mona Lisa (1503-1506, Louvre), one of the most celebrated portraits eve painted. It is also known as La Gioconda, after the presumed name of the woman’s husband. Leonardo seems to have had a special affection for the picture, for he took it with him on all his subsequen travels.
Leonardo’s stylistic innovations are even more apparent in The Last Supper, in which he re-created a traditional theme in an entirely new way. Instead of showing the 12 apostles as individual figures, he grouped them in dynamic compositional units of three, framing the figure of Christ, who is isolated in the centre of the picture. Seated before a pale, distant landscape seen through a rectangular opening in the wall, Christ-who is about to announce that one of those present will betray him-represents a calm nucleus while the others respond with animated gestures. In the monumentality of the scene and the weightiness of the figures, Leonardo reintroduced a style pioneered more than a generation earlier by Masaccio.
Life History Leonardo da Vinci
The Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s most famous work, is as well-known for its mastery of technical innovations as for the mysteriousness of its legendary smiling subject. This work is a consummate example of two techniques-sfumato and chiaroscuro-of which Leonardo was one of the first great masters. Sfumato (smoked) is a delicately atmospheric haze or smoky effect produced by subtle, almost infinitesimal transitions between areas of colour, especially evident in the delicate gauzy robes worn by the sitter and in her enigmatic smile. Chiaroscuro (light and dark) is the technique of modelling and defining forms by means of contrasts between light and shadow; the sensitive hands of the sitter are portrayed with a luminous modulation of light and shade, while colour contrast is used only sparingly.
Leonardo actually anticipated many discoveries of modern times. In anatomy, he studied the circulation of the blood and the action of the eye. He made discoveries in meteorology and geology, understood the effect of the Moon on the tides, foreshadowed modern conceptions of continent formation, and surmised the origin of fossilised shells.
He was among the originators of the science of hydraulics and probably, devised the hydrometer. His scheme for the canalisation of rivers still has practical value. Leonardo invented a large number of ingenious machines, many potentially useful, such as an underwater diving suit and a model of flying devices.