We explain who Leonardo Da Vinci was, his areas of study, and his influences. Also, what were his works and general characteristics?
Who was Leonardo Da Vinci?
Leonardo da Vinci was a famous Florentine painter, architect, scientist, writer, sculptor, philosopher, engineer, inventor, musician and urban planner who lived in Renaissance Italy between 1452 and 1519. He is considered by many to be the best example of the Renaissance man , interested in diverse areas of knowledge and in fostering their many creative and intellectual attributes.
Da Vinci cultivated medicine and anatomy , and was interested in uncovering the mysteries of the design of the human body . He also devoted himself to analyzing the mechanics and in fact dared to design artifacts with which he intended to fly. His are also great works of Western culture and art, preserved until today as part of the European legacy of the sixteenth century especially in painting.
He has been paid numerous tributes throughout Western history, on the verge of enshrining him as one of the highest creative spirits ever known.
Birth of Leonardo Da Vinci
Da Vinci was born in Florence (Italy) on April 15, 1452 , the illegitimate descendant of a noble and wealthy family, fruit of the love of Piero Fruosino di Antonio, a Florentine ambassador and notary, with a peasant woman named Caterina.
Being an illegitimate son, he did not have the paternal surname so his real name was Leonardo di ser Piero Da Vinci, that is, “Leonardo, son of the teacher Piero Da Vinci.”
Leonardo Da Vinci Studies
Da Vinci’s passion led him to become a renowned engineer and artist.
Having noticed his son’s talent for drawing, Leonardo’s father enrolled him in Andrea del Verocchio’s workshop , one of the most prestigious artistic workshops of the time, where Leonardo was able to rub shoulders with other artists of the stature of Boticelli, Perugino and Ghirlandaio.
There he learned to cultivate his passion for the various arts and different kinds of knowledge, from algorithmic calculus to sculpture . Having surpassed the master, Leonardo became a renowned artist and engineer, he worked for the patron Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan.
He also did it for the Venetians whom he helped to conceive defenses for their city and for Pope Leo X and the King of France Francis I. All this journey allowed him to develop his talents in multiple areas of art and knowledge.
The three giants of the Renaissance
Despite not being exactly from the same generation, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael are often considered the three most distinguished artists in Italy at the time, enormously influential in Western art and culture .
Influences of Leonardo Da Vinci
Leone Battista Alberti was one of Da Vinci’s influences.
Leonardo was immersed in an atmosphere of art and high culture from an early age, which undoubtedly will have provided him with the powerful influences of the painter and sculptor Donatello (master of da Vinci’s first master, Verocchio) , Masaccio, Ghiberti, Piero della Francesca and Leone Battista Alberti.
It is considered that it had a strong imprint of Renaissance Humanism , in the figure of the old philosophers Ficino and Landino.
Leonardo Da Vinci painting
The Mona Lisa is Da Vinci’s most famous work.
The great artistic genre of Leonardo was painting , above all others, although he was not a very prolific painter. His paintings have been reproduced and studied for centuries and are kept today in the great historical museums of Europe .
Leonardo employed innovative techniques , daring to compose and use colors in highly avant-garde ways. In addition, he applied his knowledge of anatomy , botany, geology, and above all he mastered the “sfumato”, a technique of combining shades and colors.
His best known and most acclaimed paintings are: The Mona Lisa (also called “Mona Lisa”) from 1503 , The Last Supper from 1498, The Virgin of the Rocks from 1485, The Lady with an Ermine from 1490 and a famous Self - portrait from 1512.
Leonardo Da Vinci drawing
Da Vinci dedicated himself to drawing both anatomy and certain innovative machines.
Leonardo cultivated drawing not only for aesthetic and artistic purposes but also as a means of studying human and animal anatomy , architectural design, machinery or tools.
It is possible to find in his work sketches of human fetuses in the womb , of skulls or of the female anatomy, together with descriptions of crossbows, flying machines, cranes, or equestrian battles.
One of his best known drawings is the Vitruvian Man, a description of the human body accompanied by anatomical notations that da Vinci made in 1490 in one of his diaries.
Leonardo Da Vinci sculpture
“Great Horse” was an unfinished work by Da Vinci completed today.
None of the da Vinci sculptures survived to this day . However, it is known that he planned some very famous ones such as the “Great Horse”, an eight meter high bronze statue that was raised in Milan, but which was left unfinished despite 70 tons of metal being available to erect it.
This metal was smelted to make cannons during Milan’s resistance to the French invasion. Centuries later, a statue according to da Vinci’s plans was made in the United States and donated to Milan, where it is possible to see it.
Inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci
One of the most famous aspects of da Vinci was his facet as an inventor. He designed numerous mechanisms and devices impossible for his time , such as precursors of the helicopter or rudimentary mirror polishing machines.
An important number of these inventions can be read in his notebooks, including weapons and sketches of a theoretical city that would achieve urban perfection.
Leonardo Da Vinci acknowledgments
Da Vinci’s life fostered the creation of books, novels and films around the world.
Da Vinci is a popular character in the Western imagination and his work continues to inspire artistic creators as well as the popular imagination.
Arcane secrets and mysterious inventions are attributed to him , which give rise to books such as the novel (and later film) The Da Vinci Code (2003) by Dan Brown, or other similar fictions.
In other areas, a lunar crater, a Martian crater and an asteroid (3000) have been named Da Vinci in his honor.
Death of Leonardo Da Vinci
Da Vinci died on May 2, 1519, after a long time of illness and disease, at the age of 67. He was buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert, in the grounds of the Château de Amboise.
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