Biography of Leonardo Da Vinci



Biography of Leonardo Da Vinci(1452-1519)

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian man of unlimited talents and was often called “The ten in one” as he excelled in ten different creative skills. He was a painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, mathematician, philosopher and engineer. He was a leading engineer of his time and designed bridges, canals, forts, machines and buildings of the highest quality. Moreover, though he had not studied military science, he made unique designs of lethal weapons which consolidated the strength of the army.

One day when Leonardo saw birds flying in the sky, an idea flashed into his mind that eventually led him to design flying machines. Leonardo kept notebooks in which he wrote down innovative ideas and drew sketches. There is a large collection of Leonardo’s notebooks in the museum in Italy which provide valuable information about his works and ideas. In those notebooks Leonardo made awe-inspiring sketches which sometimes give the impression of real photographs.

As a young boy, Leonardo showed an early talent for art. He started drawing pictures with pen and pencil that amazed his father who proudly showed his son’s work to his friends who praised Leonardo’s exceptional drawing skill.

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on 15 April 1452 at Anchiano , Italy. He was an illegitimate child of Mr. Ser Piero and Catrina. Mr. Ser Piero did not marry Catarina because she was from a farmer’s family. Leonardo spent his early childhood at his birthplace until he moved to Vinci. Vinci was a small town that Leonardo liked very much. Since Ser Piero did not have any children from his first wife , he included Leonardo in his family , but never legitimated.

Ser Piero admitted Leonardo at a school in Vinci where he got elementary schooling. Leonardo began to take interest in mathematics with Latin along with other subjects. His teachers liked Leonardo for his straightforward nature. Young Leonardo would take part in all kinds of creative activities organized by school , other than sports. He studied in Vinci until 1466.

Leonardo moved to Florence at the age of 14. By this time he had already started paining with utmost seriousness. His father was tremendously impressed by seeing Leonardo’s unique ability of expression through outstanding combination of colors and imagination. Ser Piero showed Leonardo’s painting g a number of peoples who praised the boy and also congratulated Ser Piero on having such a talented son.

In Florence Leonardo took painting quite seriously. There lived Andrea del Verrocchio , who was than a noted painter of Italy. When Verrocchio saw Leonardo’s paintings , he immediately likes his paintings. Leonardo was extremely delighted when Verrocchio appreciated his paintings. Later, Verrocchio appointed Leonardo as an apprentice in his workshop. It is believed that it was Verrocchio whose multidimensional life inspired Leonardo to switch on other subjects Verrocchio was not only a distinguished painter; he was a sculpture , goldsmith , and bronze caster.

Leonardo was inequitably paid , but he liked to work at Verrocchio’ s workshop. Leonardo saw Verrocchio a man of extra ordinary talent. He could learn lots of things with Verrocchio. While still paintings in the workshop , Leonardo made himself free of conventional style of paintings. He worked on applying new tricks and techniques for paintings. Leonardo made a composition of paint with oils and soon became well-versed in this art. We can see in most of early paintings of Leonardo he had used oil which reflected his genius. All in all , his paintings were the excellent combination of color , brush and imagination. The early paintings of Leonardo are dated bath fifth of august 1473 . A painting of this time can be seen in which Leonardo had use d pen and ink for drawing a valley from which a river is meandering through.

When Leonardo was still working at Verrocchio’s workshop , a spacial order came from the monks of Salvi. It was to paint a ‘Baptism of Christ’. This was a major order therefore Verrocchio painted most part of the work with utmost care. He left little work to be done by Leonardo. Leonardo had to draw an angle who was holding some garments. When the whole paintings was done , the p[art of the painting Leonardo had done looked ,much better and well finished then his master Verrocchio’s.

Like a true master, Verrocchio always encouraged and helped his pupils and had already foreseen the great artist with Leonardo , due to which Verrocchio was receiving more orders and his workshop becoming more famous in Florence. During this time with Verrocchio Leonardo had already carved a niche fro himself as a hugely gifted artist and in 1476 , at the age of 24 , he opened his own workshop and began painting in earnest. Over the years , Leonardo Da Vinci had developed his own technique of using color which he later named “chiaroscuro” . This was a daring technique of bold contras between light and dark. His hard work was worthwhile as he became famous as a great artist and also there was a monetary gain.

Leonardo da Vinci Monalisa

Leonardo da Vinci Monalisa

Leonardo was not content to be confined within the periphery of paint and brush. He was also taking a serious interest in the filed of machines and various equipments used for a variety of purpose. Around this time , to his great dismay , he was accused of having a homosexual relationship with Jacopo Saltarelli. An anonymous accuser lodged a complaint on 8th April 1476. This caused alarm and consternation among Leonardo ‘s friend and well-wishers. Leonardo strongly refuted the allegation. People tended to believe the allegation against Leonardo because Jacopo Saltarelli was already notorious in society as a homosexual. But , as it could not be proved whether Leonardo was a homosexual or not , the charge was dropped.

Leonardo went on to join the service of Cesare Borgia , the son of Pope Alexander V1, in Florence. He was acting as a military architect and engineer and travelled with Cesare Borgia throughout Italy and became familiar with war machines and construction. In 1506 Leonardo lived in Rome for about 3 years where he came into close contact with artists such as Raphael,Michaelangelo and others. Leonardo was always very generous and helpful to any who sought his help and those who knew him well boasted of his generosity. He was a through gentleman with a very friendly nature and a great sense of humour and a popular character.

Apart from painting Leonardo took a great interest in making several designs of machines which could be used for different purpose in peace or war. His designs of machines were matchless, and sometimes it is hard to believe that a man trained as a painter could make or even imagine such mechanical things which required a different mind set.

Leonardo lived in Milan for about 17 years and worked in the service of Duke Ludovico ,It was always a great advantage to have rich sponsors such as Duke Ludovico supporting you. During this time he painted pictures of the highest quality, made some famous drawings,worked as a sculptor and also worked on mechanical engineering. While working Milan 1482-1499 Leonardo made several famous paintings and sculptures, two of the world famous paintings were “The Large Supper”(1489)and”Virgin of the rocks”(1494).Apart from painting and sculpture he continued to write in his notebooks about his mechanical inventions and described how they functioned in the minutest detail..

It so happened with Leonardo that many times he would leave project unfinished. In 1499 for example he was in Milan and began a very ambitious project , a 24 foot tall bronze statue of a horse called “Gran Cavallo”.The French invaded Milan in 1499 and left Leonardo high and dry.

Leonardo left Milan and began travelling across the country doing a variety of work on commission. After a great deal of travelling he went to France in 1516. In 1503 Leonardo had started working on the world famous painting of Mona Lisa, for some unknown reason he didn’t finished painting but carried it with him for years where ever he went. Eventually he finished the painting over a period of about three years. It is widely believed that Leonardo had reached the pinnacle of his talent as an artist in the portrait of Mona Lisa.

When Leonardo began working on the Mona Lisa portrait it was called then “La Gioconda” . It was much later that it was named “Mona Lisa”. When it was eventually completed it drew the attention of many people including are connoisseurs. Leonardo had used a unique technique of colour combination that lifted the painting above everyday description art work, it was truly a masterpiece. The most enigmatic part of the painting is the Mona Lisa’s smile which still fascinates the thousands of peoples today who go to see the painting. Also her eyes seem to follow you wherever you stand. Somehow Leonardo has created an air of mystery about her and everyone would like to know what she is thinking. It is believed that Mona Lisa’s painting was Leonardo’s dearest work of art.

At a time when Leonardo was producing breath-taking paintings he was still studying science and engineering. He wrote some 13,000 pages in his notebooks where he explained the complexities of scientific methods, and the supremely skilled drawings in those notebooks are incomparable. He took science and engineering as seriously as his at and would study scientific theories with the utmost seriousness. Leonardo would make many exact drawings in his notebooks to make things easier to visualise , and therefore easier to understand. In fact Leonardo’s contribution to science and engineering is immense , and yet many of his contemporary scholars and scientists dismissed him out of hand ; the chief reason behind that Leonardo was not highly educated and his knowledge of Latin and mathematics was weak. Both these subjects were considered essential if you wished to work in the field of science or engineering in those days , and also in the present…

Leonardo is acknowledged as the first artist to produce detailed anatomical drawings. It was around 1490 that he produced a study in his sketch book of the “rule of proportions” as described in recently rediscovered writings. Leonardo’s study “The Vitruvian Man” is one of the most famous works.

Leonardo da Vinci Anatomy

Leonardo da Vinci Anatomy

Leonardo was allowed to dissect corpses at the hospital of Santa Maria Nuovo in Florence. He worked with Doctor Marcantonio Della Torre and dissected many male and female corpses of different ages. Body dissection enables Leonardo to see and understand the various hidden parts of body such as bones , muscles , ligaments etc. and how they worked Leonardo with Doctor Marcantonio Della Torre and published a theoretical work on anatomy , he made more than 200 drawings including of the human skeleton and backbone for this book. Due to whatever reason this book could only be published in 1580 , long after Leonardo’s death.

Leonardo made further studies of the inclination of the pelvis and sacrum and declared that sacrum was not a single bone but composed of five vertebrate. He is also credited for presenting the beautiful drawing of human skull and the cross-sections of the brain ( Transversal , sagittal and frontal). He took extreme care when drawing the images of lungs , mesentery , urinary tract , sexual organs and coitus. Leonardo is also credited to have drawn for the first time images of the foetus in the womb. Moreover he was also studying ind detail about pregnancy and childbirth. All in all Leonardo was the master of human anatomy.

Leonardo did not only study the structure of the human body but also how it functioned, so he was not only an anatomist but also a physiologist . He drew a clear picture of the heart and how it’s valves controlled the flow of blood, it is said that by looking at the image of heart drawn by Leonardo a British heart surgeon found a new way to repair damaged hearts in 2005. His study of human anatomy later inspired Leonardo to design robot and he drew it’s picture in 1495.

In the later half of his life Leonardo took an interest in making flying machines , this idea was instigated by him watching birds flying ; he made a serious study of them and made detailed noted and many diagrams. He also made a comprehensive study in order to build a helicopter , but when the helicopter was built it could not fly as due to it’s heavy body weight it was unable to lift off the ground. But later experiments helped Leonardo to build a glider which flew in the sky like a bird. Leonardo was a man ahead of his time , and although others may have thought him crazy to build such machines , his unique ideas were feasible , and he was the forerunner of the modern aeroplanes and helicopters we have today.

Encouraged by his success with flying glider Leonardo designed an armoured tank in 1502. Leonardo’s notebooks contain several well-depicted designs for different warfare machines and weapons such as the machine gun , the armoured tank , submarines , cluster bombs etc. Moreover he designed a 200 meter long bridge for Sultan Beyazil the second of Constantinople. Though this bridge wasn’t build at this time , about 500 years later in 2001 a small bridge based on Leonardo’s design was constructed on Norway. He also planned to create a solar power for use in industry bu using concave mirrors. There is no doubt that if all Leonardo’s designs had been made successfully the world would have an entirely different appearance today.

Leonardo’s notebooks can be divided into four main themes : architecture , machines , human anatomy and art. His study of these subjects was enormous but it is a mystery why Leonardo kept his notebook secret. He never sought to publish them in his lifetime. His major works contained in several notebooks remained a secret until his death. Interestingly Leonardo used mirror writing throughout his life as a secrete sort of code that no-one else could decipher.

In 2005 researchers discovered a private laboratory in Florence that was regularly used by Leonardo , and it is thought that Leonardo studied flight and other scientific subjects here. A glider made using Leonardo’s design was actually tested in this laboratory before he made his final glider design.

Many people think that Leonardo moved from painting to the scientific study of the human anatomy and machines, but the truth is that Leonardo had always been very fascinated by machines and how they performed their different functions since he was a young boy. It was his nature that he made a proper study of various machines he would either improve them , or make a drastic change in their shape , size and function.

Leonardo da Vinci , a man of ingenious qualities , died at Clod Luce , France on 2nd may 1519 , at the age of 67 . it was his wish that his casket should be followed on the journey to it’s burial place by 60 beggars . He was buried in the chapel of Saint Hubert in the castle of Amboise.

It has been more than five hundred years since Leonardo died and we have never seen another person who possessed such genius.

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