Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in the Tuscan hill town of Vinci, in the lower valley of the Arno River in the territory of Florence. Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a Florentine notary was his father, and Catherina, a peasant who may have been a slave from the Middle East was his mother. Leonardo had no surname in the modern sense, "da Vinci" simply meaning "of Vinci": his full birth name was "Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci", meaning "Leonardo, son of Ser Piero from Vinci." Little is known about Leonardo's early life. He spent his first five years in the hamlet of Anchiano, and then lived in the household of his father, grandparents and uncle, Francesco, in the small town of Vinci. His father had married a sixteen-year-old girl named Albiera, who loved Leonardo but died young. One, which he regarded as an omen, was when a kite dropped from the sky and hovered over his cradle, its tail feathers brushing his face. The second occurred while exploring in the mountains. He discovered a cave and was both terrified that some great monster might lurk there, and driven by curiosity to find out what was inside. Educational Background:
In 1466, at the age of fourteen, Leonardo was apprenticed to the most successful artists of his day, Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio. Verrocchio educated Leonardo humanities. Other famous painters such as Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli, and Lorenzo di Credi were apprenticed with the workshop. Leonardo was exposed to technical and artistic skills. He had the opportunity to learn drafting, chemistry, leather working, mechanics, carpentry, drawing, painting, sculpting and modeling. Much of the painted production of Verrocchio's workshop was done by his employees. According to Vasari, Leonardo work with Verrocchio on his Baptism of Christ, painting the young angel holding Jesus’ robe in a manner that was so far superior to his master's that Verrocchio put down his brush and never painted again. Leonardo himself was the model for two works by Verrocchio, which were the bronze statue of David in the Bargello and the Archangel Michael in Tobias and the Angel. By 1472, at the age of twenty, Leonardo qualified as a master in the Guild of St Luke, the guild of artists and doctors of medicine, but even after his father set him up in his own workshop, his attachment to Verrocchio was such that he continued to work with him. Leonardo's earliest work was done in pen and ink on August 5th, 1473; Arno valley. Training:
Practically nothing is known about Leonardo’s boyhood, but Vasari informs us that Ser Piero, impressed with the remarkable character of his son’s genius, took some of his drawings to Andrea Del Verrocchio, an intimate friend, and begged him earnestly to express an opinion on them. Verrocchio was so astonished at the power they revealed that he advised Ser Piero to send Leonardo to study under him. Leonardo thus entered the studio of Andrea Del Verrocchio about 1469-1470. In the workshop of that great Florentine sculptor, goldsmith, and artist he met other craftsmen, metal workers, and youthful painters, among whom was Botticelli, at that moment of his development a jovial _habitué_ of the Poetical Supper Club, who had not yet given any premonitions of becoming the poet, mystic, and visionary of later times. There also Leonardo came into contact with that unoriginal painter Lorenzo di Credi, his junior by seven years. He also, no doubt, met Perugino, whom Michelangelo called “that blockhead in art.” The genius and versatility of the Vincian painter was, however, in no way dulled by intercourse with lesser artists than himself; on the contrary he vied with each in turn, and readily outstripped his fellow pupils. Influences:
Da Vinci studied under Verrocchio, where Botticelli was also a student. His main influences were Masaccio, Donatello, Fra Filippo Lippi, Piero Della Francesca and Uccello. Younger artist who were in Florence while Da...