19 January 2013
Renaissance: Leonardo da Vinci
Known as the Renaissance, the period immediately following the Middle Ages in Europe saw a great revival of interest in the classical learning and values of ancient Greece and Rome. Against a backdrop of political stability and growing prosperity, the development of new technologies–including the printing press, a new system of astronomy and the discovery and exploration of new continents–was accompanied by a flowering of philosophy, literature and especially art. The style of painting, sculpture and decorative arts identified with the Renaissance emerged in Italy in the late 14th century; it reached its zenith in the late 15th and early 16th centuries, in the work of Italian masters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo and Raphael. Renaissance art sought to capture the experience of the individual and the beauty and mystery of the natural world.
Leonardo da Vinci was a man of many accomplishments. He was a painter, architect, inventor, and a student of all things scientific.. Da Vinci received no formal education beyond basic reading, writing and math, but his father appreciated his artistic talent and apprenticed him at around age 15 to the noted sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio, of Florence. For about a decade, da Vinci refined his painting and sculpting techniques and trained in mechanical arts. When he was 20, in 1472, the painters’ guild of Florence offered da Vinci membership, but he remained with Verrocchio until he became an independent master in 1478. Around 1482, he began to paint his first commissioned work, The Adoration of the Magi, for Florence’s San Donato, a Scopeto monastery.
Leonardo Da Vinci's numerous skills have earned him the title of renaissance master. Da Vinci's fascination with science and his in-depth study of human anatomy aided him in mastering the realist art form. While Leonardo's counterparts were known to...