Leonardo Da Vinci

“Leonardo da Vinci…oh yeah, that is the guy who painted the Mona Lisa!”
That was all I knew about Leonardo da Vinci before I started this report. I
knew that he lived during the Renaissance and that he was a very important
man, but that is about it. There is so much more about Leonardo that he is
known for, other than him being the painter of the famous Mona Lisa. Leonardo
was a universal genius, (as said in “What Makes a Leonardo a Leonardo?” By:
Richard Mhlberger, Copyright: 1994) because he excelled in numerous areas of
knowledge and contributed so much to the Renaissance. He was one of the great
masters of the High Renaissance (as said in the following website:
http://metalab.unc.edu/cgfa/vinci/vinci_bio.htm) who was a painter, sculptor,
architect, engineer, mathematician, geologist, astronomer and scientist.

Birthplace and Childhood: Leonardo da Vinci was born at 10:30 PM on
Saturday, April 15th, 1452. He was born in the small Tuscan town of Vinci,
which is near Florence. Although, in another reference, it said that he was
probably born in a farm house in Anchiano, which is about three miles away
from Vinci. The family of Leonardo lived in this area since the 13th century.

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When Leonardo was born, Ser Piero, his father, was a twenty-five year old
public notary. Also, when Leonardo was born, Ser Piero married his wife. He
didn’t marry Catarina, his mother, because she probably the daughter of a
farmer.
Leonardo was christened from the parson Peiro da Bartolomeo, in the
Baptismal Chapel. He was baptized to the name Lionardo, not Leonardo. The
chapel is inside the church of Vinci.

According to a tax record, when Leonardo was five years old, he was
living with his grandparents. Francesco, his uncle, probably taught him about
nature though the wild countryside that surrounds Vinci. When Francesco died,
about fifty years later, he willed his estate to Leonardo, which showed a
sense of fondness to Leonardo.

Apprenticeship: Leonardo lived in Vinci until 1466. Vinci is a small
town, in the foot of Monte Albano, in the Tuscany in Italy. When he was
fourteen, he moved to Florence, where he bagan an apprenticeship in the
workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio. Verrocchio was the leading Florentine
painter and sculptor of his day. The apprenticeship program provided all
artistic training. He was introduced to many things like painting
alterpieces, panel pictures and the creation of large sculptural projects in
marble and bronze. Leonardo served Verrocchio for about thirteen years. While
in the artists workshop he went to being a journeyman and then to being
master craftsman. When he became a master craftsman, he was expected to copy
Verrocchio’s work to perfection beacuse everything made in the shop was sold
under Verrocchio’s name. After seeing how Verrocchio’s knowledge of several
subjects helped him, Leonardo saw that mastering many skills was one of the
goals of an artist. He saw that science and art were closely related to each
other and became a master for both. Verrocchio and Leonardo, then
collaborated on the painting “The Baptism of Christ” in about the year of
1472.
The first known and dated work of Leonardo da Vinci is a pen and ink
drawing of the Aronovalley. Leonardo drew it on August 5th, 1473. It shows
the ingenious mind of Leonardo because he drew the landscape in a way that it
look real, unlike anyone else’s work produced before.

Years in Milan: Between 1482 and 1499, Leonardo was in the service of the
Duke of Milan. He was described in a list of the Dukes staff as a painter and
engineer of the duke. Leonardo completed six paintings during this time in
the dukes service. He also advised on architecture, fortifications and
military matters. Plus, he was considered as a hydraulic and mechanical
engineer.
During the year of 1495, Leonardo began working on one of his most famous
masterpieces, the Last Supper. This painting is an illustration of Leonardo’s
unique style. He broke with tradition by arranging the figures of the
apostles into small groups with Jesus seated in the center of the scene.
Leonardo’s portrayal of the Last Supper is alive with momentum and
interaction between the characters. The people of his time had never seen a
more vivid representation of this major even. This goes for people of our
generation too.

In 1499, Leonardo left Milan and went to Venice. In Venice, he consulted
on architecture from 1495 to 1499. In 1502 and 1503, Leonardo was the
military engineer for Cesare Borgia. After his service to the Borgias, he
returned to Florence. During the years of 1503 to 1506, Leonardo parinted
classics such as the Mona Lisa.
In 1506, Leonardo left to Florence and went to Milan. He then went back
to Florence around 1507-08, to fight for his inheritance from his Uncle. In
1509, he returned to Milan and spent a lot of his time on scientific studies
and engineering projects. In 1512, again Leonardo left Milan. From 1513 to
1516, Leonardo was in Rome under the protection of Giuliano de Medici. It was
at this time that he came in contact with Michelangelo and Raphael, two to
become his biggest rivals.

1516 through 1519: King Francis I, invited Leonardo to spend his last
times of his life in Amborise at the court of France In the autumn of 1516,
Leonardo arrived in the ambroise, with him, he brought the famous painting of
the Mona Lisa.

Leonardo lived in Ambroise, in the small castle Cloux (now called Le Clos
Luce), which is situated between the town and the king castle. While in
France, Leonardo didn’t paint, instead he made hydrological studies. In 1517,
He designed a palace in Romorantin.

Leonardo’s Death: Leonardo passed away on May 2nd, 1519, in Ambroise.
Leonardo da Vinci died at the age of 67. He wasn’t at the healthiest state,
because he had a paralysis on the right side of his body since 1517, and
Vasari told about an illness a few weeks before Leonardo dies. On April 23rd,
1519, Leonardo wrote his last will. St. Hubert, which is a chapel that is
situated at the area of the king-castle, is the last resting place of
Leonardo da Vinci. Originally, Leonardo was buried in the heart of the
king-castle, in the cloister of the church, St. Florentin. But, after
destruction of the church, and parts of the castle, Leonardo’s mortal remains
were transferred to the chapel of St. Hubert.
But to this day, Leonardo da Vinci remains to be on the of the greatest
people to ever have shadowed this earth. He was a great man of both the arts
and sciences. He was indeed a man of “both” worlds. He was a master in both,
world of art and the world of sciences. As I said earlier, Leonardo was an
architect, an inventor and a scientist. That is what makes him the most
likely, most famous man of the Renaissance.

Mona LisaToday: The portrait of the Mona Lisa is painted on a 77 x 53
cm. large popular-wood. As you know, it is the most famous work of Leonardo
da Vinci. Originally, the painting was larger than it is today because two
columns (one on the left and the other on the right) have been cut along the
sides of the painting. This is the reason of why its not easy to see that
Mona Lisa is sitting on a terrace. Many details of the painting aren’t
visible because they are partially damaged and some parts of the Mona Lisa
were repainted. The characteristic still exists. The characteristic consists
in the detailed background, which disappears in misty atmosphere (also
referred to as a sfumato technique) and her smile.

Mona LisaHistory: It is supposed that Fracesco di Bartolommeo di Zanobi
del Giocondo (one of the most noble citizens in France at the time) ordered,
from Leonardo, a portrait of his 3rd wife, Lisa di Antonio Maria di Noldo
Gherardini.Leonardo began this painting in 1503. Mona Lisa was twenty four
years old. He worked on this portrait for four years. Leonardo kept the
portrait and left to Florence in 1507. It is unknown why he kept itsome say
it was because he never finished it and others say it was because he loved
the portrait too much. In 1516, Leonardo arrived with the painting in his
luggage in France. He sold the painting in France to King Francis I, who
bought it for the castle in Ambroise. On August 21st, 1911, Mona Lisa was
stolen from an Italian thief, who brought the painting to Italy, where it
emerged two years later in Florence. After some exhibitions, the Mona Lisa
went back to Paris. An acid attempt damaged the lower half of the painting in
1956. Fixing it took a lot of years. In the 60’s and 70’s Mona Lisa was
exposed in New York, Tokyo and Moscow. Today, the painting is behind bullet
proof glass, in Paris , in the Louvve and international terms are prohibiting
any journey.

Inventions: When we think of Leonardo da Vinci we think of a famous
painter but he was also a famous inventor. To design machines, he would make
very detailed sketches of all the working parts. Leonardo had many ideas on
how to improve military weaponry. The catapult was a large device designed to
hurl boulders and arrows to shoot into walled cites. The multi-fire gun was
designed to shoot many bullets at once. This design was an early machine gun
type cannon. Leonardo used his philosophy to improve his mechanical abilities
and many machines of his day.

His Notebook: The notebook of Leonardo is now known as the Codex Arundel.
This notebook isn’t a bound volume used by Leonardo, but it was put together
after he died. It consists of loose papers of various types and sizes. The
first section began in Florence on March22nd, 1508 and the remainder comes
from different periods in different manuscripts. Most of these notes are the
raw materials for a book that Leonardo hoped to write on the physical
properties and geographical effects of water. Theyare written in Italian and
in Leonardo’s characteristic ‘mirror-writing’, left handed and moving from
right to left. This manuscript was in Thomas Howard, Earl of Arundel’s hands,
in Italy. He was the greatest English collector of art of his day. In 1681,
it was presented to the Royal Society by Henry Howard (his grandson) and
transferred to the British Museum in 1831.

Leonardo’s Quote: “And you, O man, who all will discern in this work of
mine the marvellous works of nature, if you think it would be a criminal
thing to destroy it, reflect how much more criminal it is to take the life of
a man; and if this is, his external form, appears to thee marvelously
constructed, remember that this structure; for that, indeed, be it may, is a
Devine thing. Leave it then to dwell in its work at its good pleasure, and
let not your rage or malice destroy a lifefor indeed, he who does not value
it, does not himself deserve it.”
“Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold
weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigour of the mind.”
“Man is the model of the world.”
“Science is the captain, practice the soldier.”
“Painters who wish to represent the relief of things they paint must
cover the service with a half-tint, then paint in the darkest shadows and
lastly the main lights.”
“He who wishes to see how the soul inhabits the body should look to see
how that body uses its daily surroundings. If the dwelling is dirty and
neglected, the body will be kept by its soul in the same condition, dirty and
neglected.”
“Nothing flows faster than the years, daughters of time.”
“When fortune comes, seize her firmly by the forelock, for, I tell you,
she is bald at the back.”
“Avoid excessive study; it will give rise to a work destined to die with
the workman.”Words
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