Leonardo da Vinci | Biography, Art Panting & Quotes

Leonardo da Vinci was a Renaissance artist and was active as a sculptor, inventor, architect, military engineer, and draftsman. When he got fame in his initial career as a painter, he also started known for his notebooks, based on different subjects including anatomy, cartography, painting, astronomy, and botany. His paintings and other works have influenced countless artists and engineers over the centuries.

Leonardo da Vinci | Biography
  • Full Name: Leonardo da Vinci
  • Born: 15 April 1452, Anchiano, Italy
  • Died: 2 May 1519, Château du Clos Lucé, Amboise, France
  • Periods: High Renaissance, Early renaissance, Renaissance, Italian Renaissance, Florentine painting
  • Known for: Painting; drawing; engineering; science; sculpture; architecture
  • Education: Studio of Andrea del Verrocchio
  • Structures: Leonardo's Rivellino
  • Siblings: Guglielmo Ser Piero, Violante di Ser Piero da Vinci

Early life

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on 15 April 1452, in a farmhouse outside the village of Anchiano in Tuscany, Italy. His father Ser Piero was a respectful notary and his mother Caterina was a young peasant woman. Da Vinci was raised by his father and his stepmother. When da Vinci became five, he moved to his parental estate, nearby Vinci, and lived with his grandparents. His surname was also derived from this village 'Vinci', where he lived with his uncle and grandparents.

Da Vinci didn't go to any school but received a little formal education beyond basic reading, writing, and mathematics instruction. He was very interested in artistic fields and his artistic talents were well evident from an early age. When Leonardo was 14 years old, he started lengthy discipleship with the noted artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence. He learned a wide range of technical skills including the fields of metalworking, leather arts, carpentry, drawing, painting, and sculpting.

Da Vinci qualified for membership as a master artist in Florence’s Guild of Saint Luke when he was about 20 and established his own workshop, and he continued his collaboration with del Verrocchio for an additional five years. After leaving del Verrocchio’s studio, in 1478, da Vinci received his first independent board for an altarpiece to reside in a chapel inside Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.

Da Vinci's Works and Paintings

Da Vinci is known for his artistic skills, but fewer than two dozen of his paintings exist. His most famous works include "The Last Supper", "Vitruvian Man" and the “Mona Lisa.”

The Last supper

This painting of "The Last Supper" was made around 1495, on the back wall of the dining hall inside the monastery of Milan’s Santa Maria Delle Grazie. This painting took nearly three years to complete. It captures the moment when Jesus informs the Twelve Apostles gathered for Passover dinner that one of them would soon betray him.

Mona Lisa

Da Vinci started working on his most well-known painting Mona Lisa in 1503. Mona Lisa is regarded as the most famous and arguable painting in the world. This privately commissioned work is characterized by the mysterious smile of the woman in the half-portrait, which derives from da Vinci’s sfumato technique. The painting is considered as of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, Italian noblewoman Lisa Gherardini. It is believed that the painting of Monalisa is incomplete because da Vinci was working on it up to 1517.

Da Vinci never gave the painting to the Giocondo family. The "Mona Lisa" is one of the most valuable paintings in the world and holds a Guinness World Record for the highest known insurance valuation in history at 100 million USD in 1962. In the present day, the "Mona Lisa" hangs in the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, since 1797. It is regarded as a priceless national treasure seen by millions of visitors each year.

Vitruvian Man

Da Vinci's painting of Vitruvian Man depicted a nude male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart inside both a square and a circle. This painting is a perfect intersection of art and science and was drawn in 1490. This famous sketch also shows da Vinci's study of proportion and symmetry. In 2017, the da Vinci painting "Salvator Mundi" was sold at a Christie's auction to an undisclosed buyer for an amount of $450.3 million. This amount breaks the previous record for an artwork sold at an auction, for "Women of Algiers" at the amount of $179.4 million.

Last years

Da Vinci died of a probable stroke on May 2, 1519, at the age of 67. He continued work on his scientific studies until his death; his assistant, Melzi, became the principal heir and executor of his estate. The “Mona Lisa” was bequeathed to Salai.

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