The Renaissance Man
“Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci was born in Anchiano, Italy. Leonardo Da Vinci epitomized the term Renaissance Man. Born on April 15,1452, Da Vinci quickly began to influence not only his generation through his work but many generations thereafter. I chose Leonardo Da Vinci for this project because I consider him to be an influential mastermind of the world we know today.
Born as a illegitimate son, there is little known about Leonardo Da Vinci’s early life. His mother remarried when Da Vinci was five. His father and uncle were the two people in his early life that influenced his love and fascination for nature. Many referred to Leo as II Florentine because he lived near Florence, this is where he really made a name for himself as an artist. Leonardo did not receive an education past basic reading and writing. His father saw what true talent Leonardo had in the arts and decided it would be best to train him in that specifically. Da Vinci married at sixteen, but his wife died at a young age. By sixteen Da Vinci had already been creating a name for himself around Florence. The Mona Lisa is one of the few paintings that Leonardo Da Vinci painted in Florence that is still intact to this day. He moved to Milan in about 1483, to work as a sculptor, painter, engineer, and architect. In 1493 the Sforza clan had asked Da Vinci to create a sixteen foot sculpture of the founder of their family whose name was Francesco Sforza. For about twelve years Leonardo Da Vinci worked on this sculpture using clay; always intending to repurpose the statue in bronze, he was not able to complete this due to the French invading in 1499. This led to the destruction of this sculpture and the fall of the Sforza family. Even though the Sforza fell during the French invasion their love and influence of art lives on to this day through Leonardo Da Vinci’s work.
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The Renaissance era was known for the revival of art. Leonardo Da Vinci revived art by using a combination of math and science to not only his paintings but sketches, and sculptures as well. The Last Supper, painted in 1495-1498 was commissioned by The Duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza. Da Vinci’s The Last Supper has a traditional and advanced techniques throughout the painting, making it one of the most revered paintings in the world. The emotion and reactions capture an outlook on their subliminal thoughts. This painting also portrays a take “..on naturalism which was unknown in Italian paintings in previous centuries”. Religion is the theme of the The Last Supper. This painting is based upon the twelve apostles in the Bible; this meal later became known as The Last Supper.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s ability to convey emotion and thought in the subjects of his paintings continued onward into his subsequent work; The Mona Lisa shows just that. Painted in 1504, Mona Lisa’s identity has been questioned in time to who she really was. Many pondered if she was in fact a real woman or merely an image of a woman captured in Da Vinci’s mind. The Louvre in France, where the painting is still held today states that the Mona Lisa was a real woman. Her name was Lisa Gheradini, she was the wife of Francesco del Giocando. At first glance this painting seems nothing more than a modern woman of her time. She is not draped in elegant jewelry, nor is she in sophisticated clothing; yet she embodies a simplistic and intimate look about her. The techniques Leonardo used to paint her are important because he uses light and shadow to show a realistic and complex view of her expression. Her smile is complicated. Leonardo Da Vinci was able to capture an expression felt and interpreted differently by all that view it.
Leonardo Da Vinci spent the remainder of his life in the Château du Clos Lucé in France, he passed away on May 2, 1519. In today’s society modern man is able to witness what genius and talent Leonardo Da Vinci had by viewing what work has been salvaged and left behind. Leonardo was a man who started from nothing, known as a bastard he was determined to make sure his name would be remembered. Two of his most famous paintings can be viewed to this day, along with various other works he had accomplished. The Last Supper is located in Santa Maria delle Grazie; a monastery in Milan, Italy. While the Mona Lisa is found in the famous museum in Paris, France called The Louvre. Leonardo Da Vinci’s unusually keen eye for nature and his intellect in not only painting, but engineering, sculpting, and human anatomy is what has kept his name alive today. Even in modern day society his works resurge and spark intelligence and brilliance onto others. He is the definition of Renaissance; he is The Renaissance Man.
- “Biography of Leonardo Da Vinci.” Leonardo Da Vinci – The Complete Works – Biography, www.leonardoda-vinci.org/biography.html.
- “Drawing of a Botanical Study – by Leonardo Da Vinci.” Henri Matisse, www.leonardodavinci.net/drawing-of-a-botanical-study.jsp.
- Editors, History.com. “Leonardo Da Vinci.” History.com, A&E Television Networks, 2 Dec. 2009, www.history.com/topics/renaissance/leonardo-da-vinci.
- “History – Leonardo Da Vinci.” BBC, BBC, www.bbc.co.uk/history/historic_figures/da_vinci_leonardo.shtml.
- “Leonardo Da Vinci.” ASME.org, www.asme.org/engineering-topics/articles/history-of-mechanical-engineering/leonardo-da-vinci.
- “Work Mona Lisa – Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Del Giocondo.” Mona Lisa – Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, Wife of Francesco Del Giocondo | Louvre Museum | Paris, www.louvre.fr/en/oeuvre-notices/mona-lisa-portrait-lisa-gherardini-wife-francesco-del-giocondo.
- Zelazko, Alicja. “Why Is the Mona Lisa So Famous?” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., www.britannica.com/story/why-is-the-mona-lisa-so-famous.