Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15th in 1452 in Vinci, Italy. He was born out of wedlock and taken from his pheasant mother at the age of five years old. His father was Pierro da Vinci, who was a legal specialist and married into a wealthy family soon after. He was sent to live with his grandparents, where he was given little formal education. At age fourteen he was apprenticing under the famous artist Verrocchio. Leonardo never married and formed very few close relationships throughout his lifetime. Although it is said he was a very kind and sympathetic person. Not only was Leonardo one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, but also a mathematician, inventor, musician, and a writer. Records of his detailed notebooks he possessed reveal that his interests spanned far beyond just paintings. This man’s extraordinary genius was not only given to the world of art, but that of astronomy, anatomy, botany, geology, optics and math. It is also reported that he was talented in the musical world, playing the lute. One of Leonardo’s greatest contributions to painting was his introduction to the idea of sfumato, which essentially means “smokey”.It is a way of producing atmospheric perspective in paintings. Leonardo became a master artist in the Guild of Saint Luke by the age of twenty, shortly after he moved to Milan to open his own workshop and started taking orders from wealthy patrons. His greatest work while in Milan was his painting named The Last Supper. This was a slow inch by inch process because of the condition of the work is so poor. Being an experimenter, Leonardo painted on dry plaster with an oil and tempura mixture. It began peeling almost immediately after. During the early 1500’s da Vinci began painting the Mona Lisa, which is one of his most important works and still today one of the world’s most famous paintings. This piece of art continues to consistently fascinate people in today’s society. It is said that it took him four years to complete this painting. Not only was Leonardo a Renaissance man but he also made many great contributions to the world of science. Leonardo went to Rome in 1513 to work for Pope Leo the 10th. He stayed for about three years, all while practicing dissections and laid the foundation for human anatomy. He also spent his last few years of life working for the King of France as well as other members of the French nobility. Leonardo died on May 2nd 1519. Leonardo da Vinci is deservedly one of history’s most famous painters, one of the greatest naturalists who ever lived, and is someone we continue to admire today. One of his greatest quotes is “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in colder weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind”.
1. "Leonardo da Vinci." 2013. The Biography Channel website. Oct 10 2013, 01:38 http://www.biography.com/people/leonardo-da-vinci-40396. 2. Getlein, Mark Living with Art Tenth Edition published 1985 pages 143-144