Largely self-educated, he filled dozens of secret notebooks with inventions, observations and theories about pursuits from aeronautics to anatomy.
But the rest of the world was just beginning to share knowledge in books made with moveable type, and the concepts expressed in his notebooks were often difficult to interpret. As a result, though he was lauded in his time as a great artist, his contemporaries often did not fully appreciate his genius—the combination of intellect and imagination that allowed him to create, at least on paper, such inventions as the bicycle, the helicopter and an airplane based on the physiology and flying capability of a bat.
Leonardo da Vinci's childhood, career, relationships, mature period, later life, biographical photos, and legacy. Leonardo's Legacy: How Da Vinci Reimagined the World [Stefan Klein, of the artist's life, this makes an illuminating new look at Leonardo's unique genius.
Leonardo da Vinci was born in Anchiano, Tuscany now Italy , close to the town of Vinci that provided the surname we associate with him today. Beginning around age 5, he lived on the estate in Vinci that belonged to the family of his father, Ser Peiro, an attorney and notary.
Da Vinci received no formal education beyond basic reading, writing and math, but his father appreciated his artistic talent and apprenticed him at around age 15 to the noted sculptor and painter Andrea del Verrocchio, of Florence. For about a decade, da Vinci refined his painting and sculpting techniques and trained in mechanical arts.
However, da Vinci never completed that piece, because shortly thereafter he relocated to Milan to work for the ruling Sforza clan, serving as an engineer, painter, architect, designer of court festivals and, most notably, a sculptor. The family asked da Vinci to create a magnificent foot-tall equestrian statue, in bronze, to honor dynasty founder Francesco Sforza. Da Vinci worked on the project on and off for 12 years, and in a clay model was ready to display. Imminent war, however, meant repurposing the bronze earmarked for the sculpture into cannons, and the clay model was destroyed in the conflict after the ruling Sforza duke fell from power in Its composition, in which Jesus is centered among yet isolated from the Apostles, has influenced generations of painters.
When Milan was invaded by the French in and the Sforza family fled, da Vinci escaped as well, possibly first to Venice and then to Florence. In the past she was often thought to be Mona Lisa Gherardini, a courtesan, but current scholarship indicates that she was Lisa del Giocondo, wife of Florentine merchant Francisco del Giocondo. Today, the portrait—the only da Vinci portrait from this period that survives—is housed at the Louvre Museum in Paris, France, where it attracts millions of visitors each year.
Ironically, the victor over the Duke Ludovico Sforza, Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, commissioned da Vinci to sculpt his grand equestrian-statue tomb. The unfinished oil painting San Gerolamo St Jerome , thought to date to , shows the agonised saint paying penance in the desert. At the behest of Pope Leo X, Leonardo was installed in an apartment here from to Three and a half hours north of Rome by road, Florence is where Leonardo perfected his craft under the tutelage of Andrea del Verrocchio.
A few steps north of the Uffizi are more elusive treasures. Some 45km west of Florence is Vinci, where Leonardo was born. A couple of noteworthy monuments warrant a visit. Another three or four hours north by road, Milan is where Leonardo created some of his most celebrated works.
On 21st February , I travelled to Manchester to view 10 of his drawings from the Royal Windsor collection. Needless to say, these small works oozed quality.
In a society where fame is fleeting and celebrity is often acquired very cheaply, it is refreshing that an artist, who died years ago, can cause a huge queue to form, waiting in line to view his work. Leonardo Anatomical Drawings. Giant Crossbow.
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