Leonardo da Vinci

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Renaissance was the time that witnessed emergence of several unprecedented artists. Among these artists the name of the Italian prodigy Leonardo da Vinci leads the list. His work revolutionized the whole concept of painting and sculpting. Leonardo breathed a new life to the paintings culture of that era. He was one of the artists to bring Renaissance to its zenith with the body of his work.

Besides being a painter, Leonardo was the man of many talents including architecture, science, mathematics, cartography literature, geology, engineering, astronomy, anatomy, botany, history, poetry and writing. It only proves that he was one of those rare geniuses who had his feet in both scientific world and artistic realm. Despite his many achievements in various fields of knowledge, he gained recognition from his work in architecture and painting. In fact, Leonardo was called the father of ichnology and paleontology. He is deemed the epitome of “Universal Genius” or “Renaissance Man”.

On 15 April 1452, Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was born out of wedlock. His father was a wealthy Florentine legal notary, while his mother was a peasant. The first few years of his life he spent with his mother then he resided with his paternal family in Francesco. His early education was informal based on mandatory subjects like Latin, mathematics and geometry. At the very early age he began to manifest his artistic inclinations. In 1466, the artist Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio accepted Leonardo as his new apprentice. Verrocchio being the excellent painter and sculptor of his time had the first-rate workshop in all of Florence.

Leonardo received an extensive theoretical knowledge and handy skills during his apprenticeship with Verrocchio. He learned a range of things, for instance, carpentry, chemistry, metal working, drafting, leather working, plaster, mechanics and metallurgy. Along these mechanical skills, he also perfected the art of sculpting, modeling, painting and drawing. The Baptism of Christ is one of the paintings for which Leonardo collaborated with his mentor. He applied a unique technique of oil paint that highlighted certain features in the painting, such as the rocks that can be seen through the brown mountain stream.

1472 was marked as the year when Leonardo qualified as a master in the Guild of Saint Luke. It was the guild composed of competent and accomplished doctors and artists. His father set him up his own studio yet he found himself collaborating with Verrocchio on several occasion. After the incident of him being charged with sodomy then acquisition in 1476, his whereabouts remained unknown and no new worked appeared for another two year. Subsequently he left Verrocchio’s studio and so did his father’s home as he traveled to Piazza San Marco.

It was reported that Leonardo was working with a Neo-Platonic academy of artists, poets, Gardens of Piazza San Marco, while living with the Medici. He also received two independent commissions. One was to paint an altarpiece for the Chapel of St. Bernard in the Palazzo Vecchio. The other one is for the monks of San Donato a Scopeto, The Adoration of the Magi. However, the commissions remained uncompleted on account of his visit to Milan. In Milan he attended to a business set by Lorenzo de’ Medici to deliver a silver lyre that he created to Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan, as a present to secure peace.

Some of Leonardo da Vinci’s noteworthy works include St. Jerome in the Wilderness, Virgin of the Rocks, The Last Supper, Mona Lisa or “la Gioconda” and The Battle of Anghiara.

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