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Detail of Biography - Leonardo Da Vinci
Name :
Leonardo Da Vinci
Date :
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802
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Birth Date :
15/04/1452
Birth Place :
Florence in Italy
Death Date :
• May 2, 1519
Biography - Leonardo Da Vinci
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As we turn the pages of history, we come across people who have faced up to and triumphed over adversity with indomitable courage. Their zeal and multi-dimensional personalities inspire the common man and make him forget his inadequacies.[br /]
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As an artist and scientist of the Renaissance era in Italy, Leonardo da Vinci stands as the tallest achiever and persona. Leonardo da Vinci, the pride of Italy can not be described using 'greatness' as an adjective. His unique way of looking at art changed the course of Italy’s art scene and paved the way for artists to be more creative all over the world. He possessed a multifaceted personality, which influenced numerous areas of learning.[br /]
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[b]Leonardo’s[/b] curiosity and urge to know and explore different branches of knowledge makes him stand out among the other great artists. He was an achiever with a child-like hunger to know things. He took up diverse fields like biology, mathematics and physics. His interest in writing books is well known. He left behind volumes of written material with exquisite pictures. Leonardo strove eagerly for a language that was simple yet expressive.[br /]
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[b]Birth And Childhood [/b] [br /]
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The emergence and progress of the Renaissance period saw the European nations getting rejuvenated and enlightened. There were massive changes in society, which shaped the coming centuries. The world saw a new beginning in all spheres of knowledge. On April 15, 1452, Leonardo da Vinci was born in a farmhouse in village of Vinci near Florence in Italy. Leonardo’s family lived in this area since the 13th century.[br /]
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For Leonardo, life was not easy to begin with. Society saw him as the illegitimate son of Sir Piero, a Florentine notary and landlord. His mother Caterina was a young peasant woman who married an artisan from that region. The same year, when Leonardo was born Sir Piero married another woman.[br /]
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The Baptismal Chapel at fort in Vinci was where Leonardo was christened. Vinci is a small town, placed at the foot of Monte Alabono in Italy. In 1457, Leonardo moved to his grandfather’s house. From this time onwards he was member of his father’s family, but he was never legitimized. He was raised as one of the member of the family and got a normal childhood of a wealthy family. He never had any half-brothers till he was 24, another reason why didn't have to go through the humiliations of illegitimacy. As a child, Leonardo was very curious and alert. He was always full of questions about things unknown to him. In Vinci, Leonardo attended school. His teachers despaired when he questioned and clarified his doubts. He did not learn Latin, which is why he wrote his notes in Italian. He was a normal child of abnormal beauty, almost fascinating people. He used to learn music and sing in his sweet voice. A very humane side of his personality could be seen in his act to buy caged birds and setting them free afterwards. Young Leonardo was always attracted to bright colors and spirited horses.[br /]
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[b]Leonardo's[/b] keen interest in designing and constructing objects lead his father to take him to the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio, a very prominent artist of those days. At the age of 14, Leonardo moved to Florence where he began an apprenticeship in the workshop of Verrocchio, in 1466.[br /]
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[b]First Stroke[/b][br /]
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[b]Leonardo[/b] started working as an apprentice in the workshop of Andrea del Verrocchio in 1466. Verrocchio was an artist of fame and ability in Florence at that time. He could recognize the genius in Leonardo and gave him a place in his workshop. Leonardo also worked with some other famous artists like Botticelli, Perugino and Lorenzo di Credi at Verrocchio’s place.[br /]
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[b]Leonardo[/b] loved to work independently. He learned mixing colors and the basics of painting himself just by observing the great hands at work. He taught himself to paint in oils between 1466-72. Verrocchio was employed to paint the famous painting Baptism of Christ and Leonardo was given a chance to paint an angel in the painting, where he clearly surpassed his master in his craft. At the same time, he used to write elaborate notes on his subject but, it seems, he never wanted to publish them some of them were written either in coded language or in mirror writing. This was another that he had mastered.[br /]
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In June 1472, Leonardo joined the painter’s guild in Florence. He was also listed in the red book of painters from Florence (Campagina de Pittori). Leonardo’s paintings had a distinct character and essence. He always went by his convictions.[br /]
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The first known and dated work of Leonardo da Vinci is a pen-and-ink drawing of Arnovalley, sketched on 5th August 1473.[br /]
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On 8th April, Leonardo and four others were denounced. An unknown person declared Leonardo of having a homosexual affair with Jacopo Saltavelli, a model. Leonardo was acquitted of the charge after the intervention of Verrocchio and in absence of any proof. But this incident is said to be the reason of his living a secluded life. Though Sigmund Freud studied his notes and found a note supporting his belief that Leonardo suffered from frigidity. The note read : " The act of procreation and anything that has any relation to it is so disgusting that human beings would soon die out if there were no pretty faces and sensuous dispositions". He never came close to women, which is also a fact.[br /]
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[b]Leonardo da Vinci, [/b] an artist of great acclaim and a farsighted scientist of the Renaissance, mesmerized people across the world with his vision and depth of thought in art. Mona Lisa’s smile is still an unsolved mystery that attracts and inspires millions even today. [br /]
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He was more than an artist and a sculptor, as the world knows him. His contribution in the field of art, science, architecture, anatomical studies, mechanics, paleontology, cosmology, geology and engineering are awe-inspiring and insightful. His works have had a perennial following and fascination.[br /]
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His life and work reveal Leonardo, not only as one of the masters of the Renaissance art but also as an humble, simple and passionate human being.[br /]
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•April 15, 1452 Leonardo was born in Vinci.[br /]
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•1469 Leonardo went to Florence, worked as an apprentice in the studio of Verrocchio.[br /]
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•1472 Became a member of the corporation of painters.[br /]
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•1473 Completed his first known drawing, La Valle dell’ Arno (‘The Arno Valley’)[br /]
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•1475 Painted an angel in Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ.[br /]
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•1477 Another celebrated painting The Annunciation was completed.[br /]
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•1478 Drew portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci.
1481 Painted San Gerolamo and The Adoration of the Magi.[br /]
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•1482-83 Left Florence for Milan to join the service of Ludovico Sforza.[br /]
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•1483-86 Took three years to paint the Virgin of the Rocks.[br /]
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•1486 Leonardo developed interest in the dynamics of flying. He explored the possibility of human flight.[br /]
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•1488-89 Started working on Anatomical drawings in the manuscripts.[br /]
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•1492 Leonardo designed a flying machine.[br /]
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•1493 Began working on the giant equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza[br /]
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•1494 Studied the resistance of various types of arcades.[br /]
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•1494 Painted the second Virgin of the Rocks.
1495 Painted The Last Supper.[br /]
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•1499 Painted Madonna and Child with St. Anne.[br /]
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•1500 Left Milan in 1499 to return to Florence. He stopped at Mantua in February and drew a portrait of his hostess, Marchioness Isabella d’Este.[br /]
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•1501 Became a military engineer under the rule of Cesare Borgia.[br /]
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•1502-03 Drew topographical maps of the Condottiere’s territories. He also designed war machines.[br /]
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•1503-06 Drew a fresco named The Battle of Anghiari.[br /]
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•1504 Painted the famous portrait Mona Lisa.
1505 Deeply studied the flight of birds, designed flying machines and tried to square the circle. [br /]
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•1506-08 Studied fluid elements : water, air and fire.[br /]
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•1508 Returned to Milan.[br /]
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•1509 Painted St. Anne.[br /]
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•1510 Undertook detailed anatomical research.[br /]
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•1513 Went to Rome to seek the patronage of the new Pope, Leo X.[br /]
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•1515 Constructed a mechanical lion for the coronation of Francis I, King of France.[br /]
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•1515 Painted Self Portrait.[br /]
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•1516 Went to serve in the Court of Francis 1, Amboise.[br /]
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•1517 Designed a palace in Romorantin.[br /]
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•May 2, 1519 Died at Amboise.[br /]
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• The Annunciation (c. 1472-77; Uffizi, Florence)[br /]
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• The Annunciation (c. 1472-77; Louvre, Paris)[br /]
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• Madonna with the Carnation (c. 1474; Alte Pina Kothek, Munich)[br /]
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• Portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci (c. 1475-78; National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C.)[br /]
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• Madonna Benois (1478 after 1500; Hermitage, St. Petersburg)[br /]
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• St. Jerome (c. 1480; Vatican Museum, Rome)[br /]
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• The Adoration of the Magi (1481; Uffizi)[br /]
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• The Virgin of the Rocks (c. 1483-85; Louvre)[br /]
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• The Musician (c. 1490; Pinacoteca Ambrosiana, Milan) [br /]
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• Lady with an Ermine (“Cecilla Gallerani”; c. 1490; Muzeum Narodowe, Krakow, Poland)[br /]
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• The Virgin of the Rocks (1494-1508; National Gallery, London)[br /]
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• Last Supper (1495-97; Sta. Maria delle Grazie, Milan)[br /]
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• Decoration of the Sala delle Asse (1498; Castello Sforzesco, Milan)[br /]
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• The Virgin and Child with St. Anne (Cartoon, c. 1499; National Gallery)[br /]
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• Virgin and Child with St. Anne (c. 1501-12; Louvre)[br /]
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• Mona Lisa ('La Golconda'; 1503-06; Louvre)[br /]
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• St. John the Baptist (before 1517; Louvre)[br /]
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• Lost : Madonna with the Yarn Winder (1501; best copy in the Duke of Buccleuh collection, Boughton, Kettering)[br /]
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• Leda (1503-06; best copy at Galleria Borghese, Rome)[br /]
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• Battle of Anghiari (1503-06; Copy at Palazzo Vecchio, Florence)[br /]
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Boooks

Treatise on painting[br /]

Treatise on Architecture[br /]

Book on Elements of Mechanics[br /]

Book on Human Anatomy [br /]

40 Codices (notebooks), having more than 4000 pages with detailed pictures and explanations (Only 21 notebooks exist).[br /]

Arundel Manuscript (British Museum, Ms. 263)[br /]


Painting treatise (MSS. A and B in the Institute de France, Paris). [br /]

A model book of sketches for sacred and profane architecture (MS.B, Institute de France, Paris)[br /]


• “The first object of the painter is to make a flat plane appear as a body in relief and projecting from that plane.”[br /]
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• “Iron rusts from disuse, stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather water becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the Vigor of the mind.”[br /]
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• “Do not tell lies about the past.”[br /]
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• “The desire to know is natural to good man.”[br /]
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• “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.”[br /]
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• “Lying on a feather mattress or quilt will not bring you renown.”[br /]
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• “It is better to die than to lose one’s freedom.”[br /]
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• “One can have no smaller or greater mastery than mastery on oneself.”[br /]
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• “Nothing flows faster than the years.”[br /]
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• “Beauty adorns Virtue”.[br /]
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• “Inequality is the cause of all local movements.”[br /]
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• “Mechanics is the paradise of the mathematical sciences, because by means of it one comes to the fruits of mathematics."[br /]
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• “He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast.”[br /]
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• “No human investigation can be called real science if it cannot be demonstrated mathematically.”[br /]
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• “The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.”[br /]
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• “Feathers shall raise men even as they do birds, towards heaven; that is by letter written with their quills.”[br /]
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• “Patience serves as a protection against wrongs as clothes do against cold. For if you put on more clothes as the cold increases, it will have no power to hurt you. So in like manner you must grow in patience when you meet with great wrongs, and they will be powerless to vex your mind.”[br /]
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• “As every divided kingdom falls, so every mind divided between many studies confounds and saps itself.”[br /]
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• “Obstacles cannot crush me; every obstacle yields to stern resolve."[br /]
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[b]Leonardo[/b] was so versatile that it is difficult to dub him in any one branch of study. He was never content as far as learning was concerned. He took to work pretty early in life because of which he was not able to pursue higher study. Somewhere in his mind Leonardo thought himself inferior to others when it came to orthodox learning. He was a keen observer and good at logic and reasoning. His ability to memorize facts helped him venture into diverse fields of study. He was the first one to say that art is a science. Leonardo asserted that creation in itself is unique and inimitable. Only an artist, using his vision, can recreate nature, so he becomes the most important person in the pattern of things. His unquenchable thirst for knowledge led him towards diverse fields of interest, such as anatomical studies and drawing, architecture, mechanics and cosmology![br /]
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[b]Milestones In Painting – [/b] [br /]
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A world-renowned painter like Leonardo didn’t leave a vast collection of his work in contrast to his contemporaries. Only 17 of the paintings that have survived can be attributed to him. Some celebrated paintings like the Battle of Anghiari and Leda were left incomplete by the genius for unknown reasons. Despite these facts, Vasari, in his work ‘Lives’ places Leonardo in the last 'Golden age of Arts'. Famous art critics like Peter Paul Rubens, Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Eugene, Delacroix applaud Leonardo’s art of expression. For Leonardo, expression was the chief concept of art, which included the basic demands of truth, beauty and accuracy.[br /]
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[b]Leonardo[/b] achieved what he needed very early, in his angel in Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ (1474-75). Leonardo placed nature atop and used the most for backgrounds and foregrounds.[br /]
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In the Madonna Benois (1478) Leonardo captured a refreshing and charming expression of child Jesus reaching for the flower in Mary’s hand in a sweet and tender manner.[br /]
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His portrait of Ginevva de Benci (1475-78) opened new paths for portrait painting with his singular linking of nearness and distance. Leonardo’s studies in Anatomy greatly helped him in painting. His painting St. Jerome (1480) wears a sorrowful look because of the gestures and looks attained through the correct portrayal of the body structure.[br /]
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The Virgin of the Rocks presents the picturesque meeting between the boy John and the equally young Jesus in wilderness. The picture does not depict an incident but it shows a vision. One of the last masterpieces of Leonardo is his Visions of the End of the World, a series of sketches that took the end of the world as the theme.[br /]
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[b]The Last Supper[/b][br /]
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The Last Supper is a testimony and just a spark of his genius. The composition reveals simplicity in appearance and depth in meaning. The striking contrast in the facial expressions of the 12 disciples brings out stark human nature. Leonardo didn’t portray the traitor Judas, instead he showed the 12 disciples who reach the height of tension when Jesus says, “One of you, which eateth with me, will betray me”.[br /]
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Technical deficiencies did not lessen its fame. Leonardo didn’t use fresco painting. He favored another technique he developed, called tempera on a base mixed by him on the stone wall.[br /]
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[b]Mona Lisa [/b] [br /]
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Between 1500 and 1506 four great creations made sure that Leonardo attained immortality in the history of painting. They were, the Virgin and child with St. Anne (Louvre), Mona Lisa, Battle of Anghiari, and Leda.[br /]
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Using light natural colors, Mona Lisa was very close to reality. Mona Lisa’s beauty lies in its liveliness. Mona Lisa became the ideal type of portrait, in which the features and symbolic overtones of the person painted achieved a complete synthesis. Raphael, a contemporary of Leonardo was inspired by Mona Lisa, which served as a model for his Portrait of Maddalena Doni. The finesse and sense of conviction with which Mona Lisa was created; it’s almost impossible to recreate.[br /]
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