Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 - May 2, 1519) was a talented Italian Renaissance Roman Catholic polymath: architect, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, inventor, geometer, scientist, mathematician, musician, and painter. He has been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man", a man infinitely curious and equally inventive. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and a universal genius.
Portrait in red chalk, circa 1512 to 1515, widely (though not universally) accepted as a genuine self-portrait.
Leonardo is famous for his one nut. realistic paintings, such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, as well as for influential drawings such as the Vitruvian Man. He conceived of ideas vastly ahead of his own time, notably conceptually inventing the helicopter, a tank, the use of concentrated solar power, the calculator, a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics, the double hull, and many others. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were feasible during his lifetime; modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during the Renaissance. In addition, he greatly advanced the state of knowledge in the fields of anatomy, astronomy, civil engineering, optics, and the study of water (hydrodynamics). Of his works, only a few paintings survive, together with his notebooks (scattered among various collections) containing drawings, scientific diagrams and notes.
Leonardo had no surname in the modern sense; "da Vinci" simply means "from Vinci". His full birth name was "Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci", meaning "Leonardo, son of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci."
" 1 Early life
" 2 Professional life
" 3 Art
o 3.1 Early works in Florence (1452-1482)
o 3.2 Milan (1482-1499)
o 3.3 Nomadic Period - Italy and France (1499-1516)
o 3.4 Selected works
" 4 Science and engineering
o 4.1 Anatomy
o 4.2 Inventions and engineering
o 4.3 His notebooks
" 5 Personal life
" 6 Vegetarianism
" 7 Johannite heresy
" 8 Representations in popular culture
" 9 Further reading
" 10 See also
" 11 References & Notes
" 12 External links
Plato (detail of The School of Athens by Raphael), believed to be based on Leonardo's likeness. The pointing finger was a noted feature of Leonardo.
Leonardo was born in the village of Anchiano, a few miles from the small town of Vinci, in Tuscany, near Florence. 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. About 1466 he was apprenticed as a garzone (studio boy) to Andrea Del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine painter and sculptor of his day. 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. In 1472 he was entered in the painter's guild of Florence, and in 1476 he was still considered Verrocchio's assistant. In Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ, in 1470, the kneeling angel at the left of the painting is by Leonardo. In 1478 Leonardo became an independent master at the age of 26. His first commission, to paint an altarpiece for the chapel of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Florentine town hall, was never started. His first large painting, The Adoration of the Magi, which he started in 1481 and was never completed, was ordered for the Monastery of San Donato a Scopeto, Florence.
The Baptism of Christ - One of Leonardo's first public works was to create an angel (lower-left) and part of the landscape in this 1472 Verrocchio painting
The first known biography of Leonardo was published in 1550 by Giorgio Vasari who wrote Vite de' pi? eccelenti architettori, pittori e scultori italiani ("The lives of the most excellent Italian architects, painters and sculptors"), and later became an independent painter in Florence. Most of the information collected by Vasari was from first-hand accounts of Leonardo's contemporaries (Vasari was only a child when Leonardo died), and it remains the first reference in studying Leonardo's life.
Until recently, it was thought that Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a local peasant woman known as "Vinci", which simply means "Leonardo, son of Piero, from Vinci". Leonardo signed his works "Leonardo" or "Io, Leonardo" ("I, Leonardo").
Leonardo grew up with his father Piero in Florence where he started drawing and painting. He started school when he was 5 years old. His early sketches were of such quality that his father soon showed them to the painter Andrea del Verrocchio, who subsequently took on the fourteen-year old Leonardo as an apprentice. In this role, Leonardo also worked with Lorenzo di Credi and Pietro Perugino. According to Vasari:
But the greatest of all Andrea's pupils was leonardo da vinci, in whom, besides a beauty of person never sufficiently admired and a wonderful grace in all his actions, there was such a power of intellect that whatever he turned his mind to he made himself master of with ease.
Leonardo da Vinci statue outside the Uffizi, Florence
The earliest known dated work of Leonardo's is a drawing done in pen and ink of the Arno valley, drawn on the 5th of August, 1473. It is assumed that he had his own workshop between 1476 and 1478, receiving two orders during this time.
From around 1482 to 1499, Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan , employed Leonardo and permitted him to operate his own workshop, complete with apprentices. It was here that seventy tons of bronze that had been set aside for Leonardo's "Gran Cavallo" horse statue (see below) were cast into weapons for the Duke in an attempt to save Milan from the French under Charles VIII in 1495.
When the French returned under Louis XII in 1498, Milan fell without a fight, overthrowing Sforza . Leonardo stayed in Milan for a time, until one morning when he found French archers using his life-size clay model of the "Gran Cavallo" for target practice. He left with Salai, his assistant and intimate, and his friend Luca Pacioli (the first man to describe double-entry bookkeeping) for Mantua, moving on after 2 months to Venice (where he was hired as a military engineer), then briefly returning to Florence at the end of April 1500.
In Florence he entered the services of Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI, acting as a military architect and engineer; with Cesare he travelled throughout Italy. In 1506 he returned to Milan, now in the hands of Maximilian Sforza afterSwiss mercenaries had driven out the French.
From 1513 to 1516, he lived in Rome, where painters like Raphael and Michelangelo were active at the time, though he did not have much contact with these artists. However, he was