A Universal Man There was little that Leonardo did not excel at. He was a painter, a sculptor, an engineer, a musician, a singer, a mathematician, a physicist, a botanist, an anatomist, a cartographer, a geologist, a geographer, a poet, a town planner and an athlete.
Early Life Leonardo was born in Vinci, a short distance from Florence. He was the illegitimate son of a notary. His father married four times and had 11 children – but Leonardo was 20 before the 2 nd child was born The village of Vinci
Professional Life At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to the artist, Verrocchio At the age of 20 he obtained the rank of master in the guild of artists and doctors of medicine
A Young Master By the age of 20 he surpassed his master, painting The Baptism of Christ in 1472. It is rumoured that Verrochio never painted again after this.
More on his development In 1482 Lorenzo de’ Medici sent him to Milan bearing gifts of peace Here he painted “The Last Supper” In 1502 he was employed by Cesare Borgia as a military architect and engineer
Old Age and Death In 1515 da Vinci was commissioned to make a mechanical lion that would walk forward In 1519 he passed away in France
Painting in fits and starts, and usually with hired musicians playing for him, the project dragged on to the point where the monks threatened to lock him in until the work was finished. Legend has it that Leonardo retaliated by painting the abbot as the image of Judas.
The Last Supper Leonardo was commissioned to paint this for the refectory of a Dominican monastery. He disastrously decided to use oils, instead of fresco, on the damp walls. It deteriorated almost immediately.
The Mona Lisa (La Giaconda) This oil on panel is his most famous work. Begun in 1503, it was still in his possession when he died in France. Salai sold it to the French King for 4,000 ecus, and so it now resides in the Louvre.
The Mona Lisa (La Giaconda) The subject is Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The pyramidic design is one often employed by Leonardo. The etherial landscape reveals his characteristic sfumato and the path reinforces the tendency of the eye to follow a triangular pattern.
The Mona Lisa (La Giaconda) The enigmatic smile is most frequently commented on. His capture of this transient expression displays unparalleled virtuosity.
The Mona Lisa (La Giaconda) There is a hypothesis that this is actually not a direct portrait of a Florentine woman at all – or that da Vinci has placed elements of his own image in the portrait..
A Universal Man He always wanted to write a treatise on painting (like Alberti), but never did. He seems to have not mastered Latin, the language of scholarship. - or perhaps he was simply too busy.
The Notebooks Leonardo kept notes on everything. Around 5,000 pages still exist. However, he used mirror-writing to ensure privacy while and after he wrote. More mundanely, perhaps he did so because he was left handed and found this easier.