Leonardo Da Vinci Essay, Research Paper
Leonardo Da Vinci
November 17, 1999
Leonardo da Vinci is probably the most famous complex artist of the Renaissance and perhaps all time. But what many people don?t know is that he wasn?t just a genius in art he also excelled in sculpting, architecture and he was also an inventor.
Leonardo was born in a small stone house on April 15, 1452. Leonardo started off interesting from the way he was conceived to what happened to his grave after he died. He was born an illegitimate child in the small town of Vinci. We don?t know much of anything about his mother accept her name was Caterina and in town history she was known to be a barmaid. On the other hand we know much about his father. His fathers name was Piero da Vinci, he was in his mid twenties when Leonardo was born and he worked as a lawyer in the small town of Vinci and later moved to Florence where he became a very accomplished lawyer. Piero was a man who seemed to have bad luck because he had four wives and three of them died. He wasn?t the nicest guy either because he wasn?t going to take Leonardo in until he found out his new 16 year old wife was barren and then he did because he wanted a child. While Leonardo was growing up his father noticed his artistic talent and at the age of 15 his father took him to Florence to an art studio where he worked under Giorgio Vasari. Vasari wrote much about Leonardo after his death. He wrote that Leonardo had “a spirit and courage invariably royal and magnanimous”(The World of Leonardo, pg12) and he “could sing and improvise divinely”(The World of Leonardo, pg12). In Vasari?s biography you can tell that he had much respect for Leonardo he pictures him as a happy young man that was a singer, flute player, and could converse for hours. Leonardo was entered into the painters guild shortly after his apprenticeship and started painting. Its weird though that Leonardo is known so much for his painting when he painted just over a dozen of them. But when you see Leonardo?s paintings you can always tell that they are his by the lack of contour his paintings don?t just flow together he has more color transitions flowing together instead of the shapes flowing. One Leonardo?s greatest feats though was when he was working under Vasari and Leonardo painted an angel holding some garments in Vasari?s painting and it totally surpassed Vasari?s work. Vasari later said that he felt that God had put Leonardo in his life to learn from him. Leonardo was also a very experimental painter for example in the Mona Lisa he painted in oil paint which was new from north Italy and normally in these types of paintings they would use an egg tempera. And he did this to try to out do his master Verrocchio which was one of the greatest painters of the time. Leonardo was also one of the first to use the whole landscape in his paintings he didn?t just focus on the human figure and use the landscape for the backdrop. One of the few drawings he did that he ever saw fit was the Arno Landscape many people call it the “first true landscape”(World of Leo, pg. 30) This drawing is drawn with pen with quick motions which brings life into the drawing in this drawing he already seems to master of light and depth of atmosphere. The first painting in his early group of paintings is the Annunciation its not a great work of Leonardo?s you can tell he is a young artist here. His next painting was the Ginvevra which is the Italian term for a juniper tree the painting is actually of a women its the type of painting a women would have done before her wedding but you can tell that Leonardo was not found of the women by the sad look on her face and the name of the painting. After this painting Leonardo went into a period with the theme of the Virgin and Child he did this for 4 years of his life some of the paintings during this period are the Virgin with Flowers, Litta Madonna, and the Benois Madonna. Some people don?t believe that these Madonna paintings are actually Leonardo?s because he doesn?t carry over with his line raising but on the other hand people say that they are for sure his since the shading strokes go from top left to bottom right which is obviously of a left-hander which Leonardo was and there were no other painters that were as good as him and left-handed so they must be his. Leonardo?s first major work was the Adoration of Magi. This was intended to be an altarpiece for a monastery in San Donato whose monks where clients of Leonardo?s father. But this painting never even got past the stage of underpainting. This work was revolutionary if he would have finished it the experts think that it would have been one of the greatest paintings ever. There had been many Adorations done but they all focused on the narrative. Leonardo chose to go the totally opposite way and focus on the emotions of the greatest most historical event ever the son of God being on earth. Even the sketches of this painting by Leonardo are so great that they are in the Lourve. Leonardo always put so much feeling into his paintings he had a great feelings for all living things from trees to the dirt on this earth. The Madonna on the Rock shows some of his relationships with everything and it shows he thought so much deeper than any other artist. Some of his thinking doesn?t make a whole lot of since such as in this painting the wing of the angel is pointed at John instead of at Jesus. Leonardo was doing all this work in his late 20?s but by the time he was 30 Leonardo packed up and move to Milan when he moved to Milan he started experimenting with inventions with music he made a horn called a lute, which is made from a horses skull and he mad a drum that you pulled along and it would stay on rhythm with the beat of an automatic hammer. But he didn?t leave Florence just to invent he moved because of the politics and he wanted to get in good with Milan?s head man Sforza. So Leonardo wrote him a letter telling him that he was an military expert and a weaponeer and he added that he was an artist and a musician as an afterthought. And know since he was in good with him he mentioned he was a sculptor and would like to the statue of him on the horse called “Horse”. So Sforza commissioned it to him and he worked on it off and on for 16 years. And he worked under him for 17 years nothing really noticeable ever happened except for his painting of the “Last Supper”. Sforza regime crumbled so Leonardo moved and went back to Florence and painted there for a while until he was summoned back to Milan by Louis XII but he had no specific tasks. Then after a three year stay in Milan where he did another version of “Madonna on the Rocks” he moved back to Milan. Leonardo later went to Rome where he got the Pope to commission him a painting and he had a stroke shortly there after which put him in the hospital where he did his self portrait and later eventually died from the stroke.
The World of Leonardo Time-Life 1966
The World of Leonardo Time-Life 1966