Leonardo da Vinci (1452–1519)

Leonardo da Vinci was an immensely talented Italian polymath. His works and inventions made him one of the greatest creative minds of the Italian Renaissance and of all times. 

Leonardo da Vinci, old picture

image source: http://www.leonardodavinci.net/images/leonardo-da-vinci.jpg

His life

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519) was an Italian polymath, having been a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, painter, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. Born as the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant girl, Caterina, at Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice, spending his final years in France at the home given to him by King François I.

info source: http://www.leonardoda-vinci.org/

Self-portrait, Leonardo da Vinci, 1513

image source: https://it.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Possible_Self-Portrait_of_Leonardo_da_Vinci.jpg

What were his major works?

Among his works stands out The Mona Lisa, The Last Supper and The Vitruvian Man. The Mona Lisa (1503-1506), perhaps the greatest treasure of Renaissance art, is da Vinci’s best-known work and is one of many masterpieces of High Renaissance painting housed in the Louvre. The painting is known to Italians as La Gioconda, the French call her La Joconde. The sense of overall harmony achieved in the painting reflects Leonardo’s idea of the cosmic link connecting humanity and nature, making this painting an enduring record of Leonardo’s vision and genius. The work is arguably the finest ever example of portrait art, and one of the greatest Renaissance paintings of the 15th and 16th centuries.

info source: http://www.visual-arts-cork.com/famous-paintings/mona-lisa.htm

info source: https://www.britannica.com/biography/Leonardo-da-Vinci/The-Last-Supper

Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci, 1503-1506

image source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mona_Lisa#/media/File:Mona_Lisa,_by_Leonardo_da_Vinci,_from_C2RMF_retouched.jpg

The Last Supper (1498) is a mural painting painted from 1495 to 1498 on the back wall of the dining hall at the Dominican convent of Sta Maria delle Grazie in Italy. The subject is Christ’s final meal with his apostles before Judas identifies Christ to the authorities who arrest him. The balanced composition is anchored by an equilateral triangle formed by Christ’s body. He sits below an arching pediment that if completed, traces a circle. These ideal geometric forms refer to the renaissance interest in Neo-Platonism.

info source: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/renaissance-art-europe-ap/a/leonardo-last-supper

Last Supper, Leonardo da Vinci, 1498

image source: https://www.khanacademy.org/humanities/ap-art-history/early-europe-and-colonial-americas/renaissance-art-europe-ap/a/leonardo-last-supper

The Vitruvian Man (1487) is a world-renowned drawing and it is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a nude male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura.

info source: http://www.leonardodavinci.net/the-vitruvian-man.jsp

Vitruvian Man, Leonardo da Vinci, 1487

image source: http://blog.world-mysteries.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/vitruvian-man-lg.jpg

Among his works stands out The Virgin of the Rocks,

How can we identify Da Vinci’s style?

  • He used the technique of sfumato with great mastery. Sfumato refers to the subtle gradation of tone which was used to obscure sharp edges and create a synergy between lights and shadows in a painting.
  • Leonardo shaped his objects in two dimensions by capturing the light and shadow of three dimensions. This use of light and shadow was called chiaroscuro.
  • Leonardo da Vinci typically painted with oil paint that he made by hand from ground pigments; later in his career, he worked with tempera made from egg whites.
  • The Leonardo da Vinci painting technique used natural hues that were muted in intensity. Most often, his works used blues, browns and greens in accordance to the earth itself. He also incorporated neutral grays, typically for underpainting.
  • By using such a small range of colors, he was able to give his finished works a more cohesive appearance.
  • His work surface typically would be a canvas or board, or sometimes stone when painting a mural.

info source: https://www.thoughtco.com/g00/old-masters-style-sfumato-and-chiaroscuro-2578618?i10c.referrer=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.google.it%2F

info source: http://www.artble.com/artists/leonardo_da_vinci

info source: http://www.davincilife.com/article4-davinci-painting-technique.html

Belle Ferronnière, Leonardo da Vinci, 1490-1495

image source: http://www.stilearte.it/leonardo-da-vinci-cose-lo-sfumato-leonardesco-e-come-si-ottiene/