by Susan Elliott
In the list of Italian Renaissance painters, Leonard da Vinci reins supreme as the ultimate genius of the Renaissance era. Today, nearly five-hundred years after his death, da Vinci's accomplishments still hold a vast majority of the public captivated.
In the list of Italian Renaissance painters, Leonard da Vinci reins supreme as the ultimate genius of the Renaissance era. Today, nearly five-hundred years after his death, da Vinci's accomplishments still hold a vast majority of the public captivated by his genius. Da Vinci is well known for his artworks, science experiments, inventions, anatomical realism, and much more. He truly is a man of great importance in the history of the Renaissance master painters, and the Renaissance in general.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (Leonard son of ser Piero, from Vinci), was born on April 15, 1452 to a woman named Caterina in Florence, Italy. He was the son of a "Florentine Notary named Ser Piero." At the time, Leonardo's birth was steeped with the stigma of illegitimacy, but his great accomplishments have now overshadowed the misfortunes of his birth.
Although Leonardo's father did not have to claim him, Ser Piero looked after him. It was by Ser Piero's guidance that helped to bring Leonard to the attention of the art world, and in particular to his mentor. Ser Piero saw a greatness in his son, and the world is thankful today.
Ser Piero reared Leonardo in Florence, Italy. This is the place Leonardo first began to draw and paint "His early sketches were of such quality that his father soon showed him to the painter Andrea del Verrochio." Verrochio was so impressed by Leonardo's skills that at fourteen he took him on as an apprentice. During his time as an apprentice Leonardo also worked with Lorenzo di Credi and Pietro Perugino .
It has been recorded by the painter Vasari that Leonardo's genius outshined all other pupils at the time.
"But, the greatest of all Andrea's pupils was Leonardo da Vinci , in whom, besides a beauty of person never sufficiently admired and a wonderful grace in all his actions, there was an intellect that whatever he turned his mind to he made himself the master of with ease.-Vasari"
Leonardo's youth in Florence was steeped in controversy. "Florence's Officers of the Night- a Renaissance organization charged with suppressing the practice of sodomy" kept Leonardo under close observation there. Leonardo had been anonymously accused of sodomy with one of his young models named Jacapo Saltarelli. Saltarelli was a well known male prostitute on the streets of Florence. Evidence however was not conclusive in the case and after two months in jail, Leonardo was acquitted of all charges.
It is possible that Saltarelli was only a model for the Master artist, and the lack of evidence in the case may suggest this to be the case. Modern critiques suggest that Leonardo was "falsely accused of his involvement with homosexual crimes at Florence," and this has caused a highly biased belief that Leonardo was homosexual.
There is much evidence on the other hand that Leonardo had a close friendship with three women Cecilia Gallerani, Beatrice D'Este, and Isabella D'Este. Yet, Leonardo as a whole was a closely guarded man about his personal life, and he was able to accomplish keeping that side of himself secret. His life and loves are said to be a "reflection of his appreciation of beauty"
Professionally, Leonardo had his own workshop from the years 1476 to 1478. His earliest work is dated August 5, 1473, and is a pen and ink drawing of the Anno Valley. His first attempt at housing his one workshop was mostly unsuccessful because he only had two orders, but success was just around the corner.
Through his professional career Leonardo was employed by many people. His distinguished career included service and employment with Ludovico Sforza the Duke of Milan, Cesare Borgia son of the Pope Alexander VI, Pope Leo X, and Charles VIII the King of France. His works of art were greatly appreciated during his lifetime, a feat many artists do not achieve.
Leonardo's art works are broken into different periods of his life.
Art works produced at this time (1452-1482) include:
Art works produced at this time (1482-1499) include:
Art works produced after 1500 include:
Leonardo da Vinici spent many years following his passions and in those years he not only painted, and sculpted but he enjoyed science. His art and science passions fused together with his interest in human anatomy. Da Vinci's anatomical drawings done with the use of corpses as subject matter are still impacting the world of science.
He conquered many firsts in science. He was the first person to "describe the double S form of the backbone, the inclination of the pelvis and sacrum, as well as representing the human skull and cross sections of the brain" with a computer like accuracy.
He studied the lungs, mesentery and urinary tract, and sex organs. He even covered the taboo of intimate sexual relationships in sketches. Da Vinci's realistic representations of the heart have even been credited with inspiring a heart surgeon to "pioneer a new heart repair procedure in 2005"
As a scientist he is unparalleled in invention. His notebooks have documented many modern day mechanics. He envisioned military machines such as machine guns, armored tanks, cluster bombs, and a submarine. He also made a "device that has been interpreted as the first mechanical calculator." His designs for solar power to heat water, and a car powered by a spring mechanism are so extraordinarily advanced for the day they are almost unbelievable.
Da Vinci as a man is one of the most amazing people in history. As an artist Da Vinici is considered to be a master. Leonardo da Vinci was and remains one of the most fascinating people in the history of the world. His artworks transcend time as well as do his scientific creations.
Da Vinici could be thought of as a forward thinker. If somehow Leonardo da Vinci could be transported to today's time, it is quite possible to imagine that he would be paving the way to new scientific break throughs, and leading the artist communities to new depths of creation.