“Artist, inventor, and scientist Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the greatest thinkers of the Renaissance. ” (Stewarts 19) Often referred to as the “Renaissance Man”, Leonardo Da Vinci was a true genius (Stewarts 19). On April 15, 1452, Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Vinci, Italy, and the world was never the same (Leonardo Renaissance 1). His mother moved away shortly after, leaving Leonardo Da Vinci’s father, Ser Piero Da Vinci (Rosand 228), to raise him (Leonardo Renaissance 1). Growing up on a family farm, Leonardo could easily study nature (Leonardo Reviewed 3).
Leonardo Da Vinci developed a vast amount of interests during his extraordinary life. At the age of 15, Leonardo Da Vinci began to apprentice an artist named Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence, Italy (Leonardo Renaissance 2). This apprenticeship allowed Da Vinci to study the basics of sculpting and painting (Stewart 19). Although at a young age, Leonardo Da Vinci began to show signs of incredible talent (Leonardo Renaissance 2). In fact, Andrea del Verrocchio permitted him paint an angel in his painting, the Baptism of Christ (Stewart 19).
When Verrocchio realized Da Vinci’s angel was much more life-like than his own, Andrea del Verrocchio vowed never to paint again (Stewart 19). While Da Vinci was in Florence, several Scopeto monks requested that he paint an altarpiece called the “Adoration of the Kings” (Leonardo Reviewed 5). However, Leonardo Da Vinci stopped working on this piece in 1481, leaving it incomplete (Leonardo Reviewed 5). In 1482, Leonardo Da Vinci made the move to Milan to work for the Duke of Milan (Leonardo Reviewed 6).
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He carried out a variety of tasks while working in Milan, including paintings, designing costumes, and working on various inventions (Leonardo Reviewed 6). Leonardo also worked on various projects for the pope from 1513 to 1516. Leonardo Da Vinci is renowned for his artistic talent, having completed two of the most well-known pieces of art recognized today. He believed that it is important for artist to know rules of perspective and laws of nature (Leonardo Artist 5). Da Vinci was the first artist to paint proportionate looking men, women, and children (Leonardo Artist 4).
The knowledge Leonardo had obtained from studying nature, atmosphere, and human body enabled him to make more realistic, accurate figures (Leonardo Reviewed 3). In order to improve his paintings, Leonardo used several techniques (Leonardo Artist 3). Chiaroscuro, one of the techniques used by Leonardo Da Vinci, provides paintings with a life-like quality and make shapes appear three-dimensional by giving them light and shadow (Leonardo Artist 3). A second technique called Sfumato, which originated from Flemish and Venetian painters, creates atmosphere and depth (Leonardo Artists 3).
During his time in Milan, Leonardo Da Vinci worked on “The Last Supper” (Leonardo Reviewed 7). Instead of using the fresco method of painting on wet plasters with watercolors, Leonardo painted on a wet wall with oil for this particular painting since he enjoys painting slowly, which is why the painting began to peel after his death (Leonardo Reviewed 7). This painting, which was painted on a wall of the dining room of the Monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie, exhibits the last meal Jesus shares with his twelve disciples and announces that one will betray him (Summers 1).
Although many past artists had painted the disciples in a line and the betrayer, Judas, separate, Leonardo Da Vinci painted the disciples in small groups with each reacting differently to this startling news (Summers 4). By doing this, Leonardo Da Vinci created a more active scene (Summers 4). In 1497, Da Vinci finished the painting (Summers 1). “The Mona Lisa is probably the most famous portrait in art history. ” (Mona World 1) Between the years 1503 and 1506, Leonardo Da Vinci slaved over the Mona Lisa (Mona World 1).
A young woman in Florentine clothes on a balcony is featured in the Mona Lisa (Mona World 3) with a mountainous landscape in the background (Mona Grolier 1). In order to make the woman look calml and simply placed in the picture, Leonardo Da Vinci used a pyramid technique. There is much speculation over who the woman is and why she has such a mysterious smile (Mona World 3). Most commonly, people believe that the painting depicts the second wife of Francesco Bartolommeo del Giocondo (Mona Encyclopedia 1).
Leonardo Da Vinci used the sfumato technique in this portrait to make it especially stunning (Encyclopedia Grolier 1). Like many people of the era, Leonardo Da Vinci needed to use his artistic skills in other fields in order to make a living (Leonardo Inventor 1). Da Vinci invested his artistic skills in architecture, military engineering, canal building, and weaponry design (Leonardo Inventor 1). “Leonardo wanted to create ‘new machines’ for the ‘new world’. ” (Leonardo Inventor 2) He sought after a job from the Duke of Milan as a military engineer (Leonardo Inventor 1).
Gears and levers were a big interest for Leonardo Da Vinci, and he realized that put together, they could perform extraordinary tasks (Leonardo Inventor 4). With the use of gears, Da Vinci was able to invent the bicycle, helicopter, and auto—mobile, and some weapons of war (Leonardo Inventor 4). Another area of high interest for Leonardo Da Vinci was water, and he studied water in all forms (Leonardo Inventor 5). After studying water, he was able to invent numerous water-related inventions. Some of them were a humidity measuring mechanism, steam-powered cannon, various waterwheels, and water-powered industrial machines.
Leonardo Da Vinci wanted to develop canals in the waters of Milan as well. The topic of water fascinated Da Vinci so much that he went on to envision plans for underwater breathing devices, webbed gloves, life preservers (which we now know to be a life-saving device), and tools to attack ships while underwater (Leonardo Inventor 5). Not only was Leonardo Da Vinci a successful artist and inventor, but he went on to exceed as a scientist as well. “His investigations marked the beginning of the scientific revolution. (Leonardo Answering 3) Da Vinci studied a vast amount of sciences including anatomy, optics, zoology, hydrodynamics, botany, geology, and aerodynamics (Leonardo Scientist 1). Leonardo Da Vinci began to use a systematic, descriptive method of studying the natural sciences (Leonardo Scientist 4). He would observe nature, ask a simple question, and then record the solution in his sketches (Leonardo Scientist 2). Another method Leonardo commonly used in scientific studies consisted of close observation, repeated testing of the observation, precise illustration of the subject, and a brief explanation (Leonardo Scientist 5).
Leonardo Da Vinci was highly interested in the study of human anatomy, and wanted to understand the body parts and functions (Summers 17). His drawings were thought to be the first accurate displays of human anatomy (Summers 17). He investigated the reproduction system, circulatory system, and embryology because he wanted to understand the forces that controlled the human body (Summers 18). Another area of science Leonardo Da Vinci exhibited interest in was mechanics (Summers 16). He produced designs for ideas such as parachutes, aircrafts, helicopters, and a flying machine (Summers 16).
Also, he designed assorted war machines, including tanks and machine guns, and movable bridges since he also worked as an engineer and military architect (Summers 16). In 1513, the King of France, King Francis I, invited Leonardo to come to Paris and granted him with the title “Master of All Arts and Sciences” (Stewart 21). For six years, he lived and worked in France (Encyclopedia 1). He died in France in 1519 (Stewart 21). Leonardo Da Vinci truly was “the most versatile genius of the Renaissance. ” (Rosand 228) His accomplishments are still used in modern day and will always have a lasting impression on the world.
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