Leonardo Da Vinci 3 Essay, Research Paper
On April 15, 1452 Ser Piero and Catarina (her first name is all that we know today) gave birth to arguably the most important man in history, Leonardo da Vinci. Leonardo was born in a farmhouse in Anchiano, which is 3 km away from Vinci. Leonardo s family had lived in this area since the 13th century.
Ser Piero, Leonardo s father, was a 25-year-old lawyer when Leonardo was born. As the story goes, Ser Piero did not marry Leonardo s mother (Catarina) because she was the daughter of a farmer. This caused many lifelong legal and emotional problems for Leonardo. Ser Piero did marry a woman shortly after Leonardo was born, her name in unknown. Leonardo had a total of four stepmothers in all, but it s thought that Leonardo s near by uncle is the one who nurtured Leonardo s powerful drive to learn.
Leonardo was christened at the Baptismal Church in Vinci. The parson Piero da Bartotomeo christened Leonardo to the name Lionardo, and not Leonardo. Leonardo lived in Anchiano for about 5 more years, until he moved to Vinci.
In 1457 Leonardo moved with his grandfather from Anchiano to Vinci. From this time forth Leonardo was a member of his father s family. Ser Piero and his first wife did not have any children; this may have been the reason for Leonardo s integration into his father s family.
Leonardo attended school in Vinci. Leonardo s teachers often became annoyed with his constant questioning of what they had just taught, and his many doubts. While in school, Leonardo learned to write, read, and calculate. He was also taught Latin and geometry. Leonardo believed that he had not learned enough Latin in school, so he taught himself more of it. In 1466, after Leonardo turned 16, he moved to Florence to begin his apprenticeship in the workshop of Verrocchio.
Leonardo began his apprenticeship under Andrea del Verrocchio in 1466. Verrocchio was at this time the most gifted and magnificent artist in Florence. Verrocchio had much influence on the young Leonardo, but Leonardo also had influence in Verrocchio. Verrocchio was so fascinated by Leonardo s drawings, that he gave Leonardo a place in his workshop. While working with Verrocchio, Leonardo got a chance to work with some of the other great artists of the time, such as Botticelli, Perugino, and Lorenzo di Credi.
During the years 1466-1472, there were no known works of art from Leonardo. At this time Leonardo taught himself how to paint in oils. One day when he painted an angel-Leonardo was known to draw better angel faces than anyone-Verrocchio reportedly threw down his paint brushes in jealous admiration and swore he would never paint again. In June 1472 Leonardo had begun being listed in the red books of painters from Florence. With the membership in the painter s guild of Florence, Leonardo s apprenticeship to Verrocchio ended. Still Leonardo always felt at home with Verrocchio and in times of stress he would return to visit with him.
Leonardo s first dated work is a pen and ink drawing of the Arnovalley. He drew it on August 5, 1473. This picture shows the ingenious mind of Leonardo, because he drew the landscape in a way that could have been real. No other artist had done this before.
On April 8, 1476 an anonymous person denounced Leonardo for having had a homosexual affair with one of his models. This was a great heresy against the church, punishable by death. He was acquitted of the charge but after this he was even more secretive than before.
In 1476 Leonardo and Verrocchio were commissioned to paint the Baptism of Christ. This is a great picture to compare and contrast Leonardo s methods with Verrocchio s.
Leonardo was not just skilled as a painter. He was also a very good sculptor even though none of his pieces of sculpture survived the vandalism through the years. More than a great artist, he was a great thinker, the best of his time and possibly the best of all time. With the skills that Leonardo possessed he could easily have become a city planner, architect, inventor, engineer, physician, musician, anthropologist, botanist, or astronomer.
Leonardo was a very curious person. His most frequently used words in his notebooks were I question. His questions ranged from what it would be like to walk on water to would a fly make a different sound if you put honey on its wings?
Leonardo learned about human anatomy the same way most artists learned about it at the time.
They did autopsies on cadavers. Leonardo had to keep his autopsies secret because they were banned by the
Church. To make matters worse he was left handed, which in those days was perceived as a sign of the devil. He was a vegetarian because he felt sorry for the animals that people ate. All of these personal habits and characteristics and his secrecy made people begin to think that he was a dark wizard, and his experiments were rumored to be a type of black magic. Leonardo s desire for privacy was so much so that he wrote all of his notes backwards so that no one else could read them.
He was a different type of man. He was strong, healthy and handsome with a carefully curled and brushed beard. His rose colored robes were short, unlike the robes of most men. He was always extremely clean in an age when most people weren t. He couldn t even stand to have paint on his fingers. Most of the time he was calm, though he was known to blush when someone insulted him like his arch-rival Michelangelo. Leonardo was a welcome addition to any party because of how he was able to devise clever riddles that made people roll with laughter. He even like to play pranks on people that would make them scream. Once he even unleashed what appeared to be a dragon, but it was only his lizard. He was an excellent horseman, sang well, played the lyre well and was capable of inventing his own instruments when needed. His favorite food was minestrone soup. There were two things that would put Leonardo in high spirits. They were flying and his design for a submarine.
Leonardo had no family of his own, but he adopted a peasant boy who lived with him for 26 years.
The boy was known as Salai, which means Devil, because he constantly stole from people. He even stole from Leonardo. In 1515 Leonardo drew a self-portrait of himself.
King Francis I invited Leonardo to spend the last span of his life in Ambosie. In the autumn of 1516 Leonardo arrived in Ambosie carrying the Mona Lisa. Leonardo s final 3 years were the most serene of his life. He came down with paralysis on the right side of his body in 1517 and his health continually declined after this time. On April 23, 1519 Leonardo wrote his last will, and on May 2, 1519 Leonardo
Di Vinci died. Vasari (a friend of Leonardo s) told the legend that King Francis I immediately came to Ambosie when he heard that Leonardo was near death. The painting from Cesare Mussini shows this last meeting, but it is only a legend, because King Francis was in St. Germain en Laye on May 1, 1519.
1. Thierry Ehrmann, Leonardo-da-vinci.com, Online, www.dogpile.com, May 15, 2000.
2. Kathleen Krull, Lives of the Artists, San Diego, Harcourt Brace & Company, 1995.
3. Editors of Time-Life Books, What Life was Like at the Rebirth of Genius, Renaissance, Italy, 1999.
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