Leonardo Da Vinci

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History 101|
Leonardo Da Vinci|
Renaissance Pioneer|
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Luis Quelhas|
11/13/2012|

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Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452. His father was a wealthy notary, named Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci. His mother Caterina was a sixteen year old peasant girl. Leonardo had no surname when born and took the name Da Vinci meaning from Vinci, the small town in Florence where he was born. Throughout his life Leonardo faced many hardships. From 1457 he lived in the household of his father, grandparents and uncle, Francesco, in the small town of Vinci, after living the first five years of his life with his mother in Anchiano. According to European Authors Leonardo’s father had another son in 1475, with the birth of Piero’s son Leonardo was excluded from the family. Living during the Renaissance time Leonardo went on to be one of the most influential artists in history with works such as the Mona Lisa and The Last Supper. Not only was Leonardo one of the icons in art history, he has also impacted many fields in science such as astronomy and technological ingenuity. According to Art through the Ages, Leonardo is “the most diversely talented person ever to have lived”. While that claim cannot be proven, Leonardo did build himself a pretty resume. His resume consists of: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. So while the term “most” cannot be proven, one can assume, by looking at this resume, that Leonardo was truly a very talented person. Leonardo was a pioneer in turning medieval Europe into early modern Europe. This movement is referred to as the Renaissance period, a period of great cultural change and achievement that began in Italy around the end of the 13th century and lasted until the 16th century. According to West in the World, “renaissance literally means ‘rebirth’ and was coined in Italy in the early 14th century to refer to the classical (Greek and Roman) literature and values.” A major part of the Renaissance was the art that came out during that time period between the 13th and 16th centuries. This is when Leonardo worked and released both his art and ideas. Leonardo Da Vinci has proven to be one of the most influential and diverse people in history.

In 1466, Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio. According to The Rise of the Artist, in the workshop Leonardo was exposed to both theoretical training and a vast range of technical skills, including drafting, plaster casting, metallurgy, metal working, chemistry, leather working, mechanics and carpentry as well as the artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting and modeling. From 1472 to 1475, Leonardo collaborated with Verrocchio on his The Baptism of Christ, painting the young angel holding Jesus' robe. According to Daniel Arasse, Leonardo's earliest known dated work is a drawing in pen of the Arno valley, drawn on August 5, 1473. From 1476 until 1478 there is no record of his work or even of his whereabouts (The Everything Da Vinci Book). According to Martin Kemp, Leonardo worked in Milan from 1482 until 1499. He was commissioned to paint the Virgin of the Rocks for the Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception and The Last Supper for the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie. The Last Supper proves that his influence lives onto this day. The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time, showing that people to this day continue to appreciate Leonardo’s art. On his return to Florence in 1500, he was a guest of the Servite monks at the monastery of Santissima Annunziata. Leonardo created the cartoon of The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist, a work that won such admiration that "men and women, young and old" flocked to see it "as if they were attending a great festival" (The Everything Da Vinci Book). Many people coming to see the panting he created proved...
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