Thursday, June 19, 2008

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was an amazing man who lived and worked during the Renaissance. He was a master painter as well as a scientist, engineer, researcher, inventor, and musician. This post, of course, will focus on his art.

Leonardo was born in 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Da Vinci was not his last name. His name means Leonardo from Vinci.
As a teenager, Leonardo became an apprentice to Andrea del Verrocchio. Verrocchio was a well known painter, sculptor, and goldsmith with a large studio and many apprentices. Leonardo learned a lot from his teacher. By the time he was 20, Leonardo could paint as well as Verrocchio. He soon decided to start his own studio.

Leonardo took on apprentices of his own and was able to earn a living as a master artist. He painted for many important people and, when he was 30, he moved to Milan, Italy to paint for the ruling family, the Sforza. In 1499 the Sforza was overthrown and a new family came into power. Leonardo moved back to Florence (near Vinci) but in eight years he returned to Milan.
The king of France became an important patron of Leonardo. He allowed the artist to paint whatever he pleased.

Leonardo longed to paint for the Pope. He moved to Rome in 1513 but there were already several great painters working for the Pope, including Michelangelo.

In 1516 Leonardo moved into a small castle that was bought for him by the new king of France. He stayed there until he died in 1519. While living in the castle, Leonardo continued to paint. He also gave the king advice.
There are several reasons why Leonardo’s paintings are so amazing. Leonardo studied the human body. He learned exactly how all the muscles moved and how the body looked in different positions. This allowed him to create realistic paintings.

Leonardo was great at observing people. He noticed little details about hands and feet and especially faces. He was a master at painting facial expressions.
He also studied plants and trees, rocks and soil. He studied anything he painted so his art would look as real as possible.

Finally, Leonardo figured out how to use perspective to make more realistic paintings.

Notice all these things in the pictures scattered throughout this post. The first painting is The Annunciation, the second is John the Baptist, the third is The Last Supper, and the forth is The Mona Lisa.

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Anonymous said...

This information is very helpful, but it doesn't say the reason why he painted.

Anonymous said...

when did he die? :P