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Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was an Italian multiskilled artist and intellectual. He is credited with many inventions, famous paintings and sculptures making him the perfect polymath of Renaissance. He is thus called the 'Renaissance Man', by many scholars and historians. Leonardo mastered the fields of art, science, geology and even music. Leonardo is celebrated for his famous creations 'Mona Lisa' and 'The Last Supper'.
Leonardo da Vinci


Leonardo da Vinci was born on 15 April 1452 to peasant mother Caterina and civil lawyer Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci. Leonardo's father was a wealthy man and married multiple times. Leonardo had a total of twelve half-siblings. Leonardo was good at Mathematics and learned Latin and Geometry as well.

Apprentice under Verrocchio

Famous Florentine artist Andrea del Verrocchio ran a workshop by the name Bottega in Florence. Leonardo worked there as an apprentice and was exposed to a variety of skills including drawing, painting, also sculpting and modelling. He was also trained in the fields of metallurgy, metal working, drafting, leather works and carpentry, along with many other trades. When Leonardo was able to set his hand in painting, he assisted his master in drawing 'The Baptism of Christ'.By the time Leonardo was 20, he qualified for the artistic and medicinal guild of Saint Luke.

Professional Life

Leonardo da Vinci was also interested in music and made a silver lyre. The ruler of Florence, Lorenzo de' Medici, sent Leonardo to the Duke of Milan 'Ludovico Sforza' to present the lyre to him and to work for him. Leonardo informed the Duke of his expertise in the field of art and warfare. He claimed that he could make instruments for war. He was asked to paint 'Virgin of the Rocks'.Leonardo da Vinci used his tactical skills in the second Italian war and proved to be a good military engineer. He drew up sketches of a chariot with blades mounted on its side. He even designed an armored tank and a large crossbow. Leonardo worked there for 17 years and mesmerized everyone with his talents in the fields of art and warfare.

Vitruvian Man

In 1490, Leonardo da Vinci's interest showed up in one of his drawings, ‘Vitruvian Man’, where he fused art with a sense of science. The drawing depicted two superimposed male figures inside a circle and a square. Both the figures have their hands and legs stretched out. There is only a single head, which tells that the figures are of the same man. It has notes from the Roman architect Vitruvius and shows the relation between men's body proportions and geometry.

'The Last Supper'

The Duke of Milan asked Leonardo da Vinci to use his imagination and paint the moment when Jesus informs the Twelve Apostles of their possible betrayal, at the Passover dinner. It took Leonardo 3 years to complete the masterpiece 'The Last Supper'. This mural painting was however damaged to a large extent during past centuries and multiple attempts to restore it did little to help it.

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa or La Gioconda is world's most famous painting and Leonardo's best work. The painting shows a woman sitting with her palms resting on one another and her hair, open, drawn to the front. The lady has an enigmatic smile on her face. For years historians and scholars have been trying to speculate the nature of her smile. Though it is unclear who the lady in the portrait is but it is believed that Leonardo painted it in image of Francesco del Giocondo's wife Mona Lisa. The painting was later acquired by King Francis I of France and has been on display, since 1797, at the Louvre Museum in Paris, .


Leonardo da Vinci drew up sketches of a flying machine which looked like a bicycle with mechanized blades on top. It has said to have inspired the invention of modern day helicopter. He designed a Double hull for ships and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire. Many of his inventions and writing never saw the light of the day and were preserved as they were. Leonardo sketched many war machineries.

Researches in the field of Anatomy and Science

As a good painter Leonardo da Vinci was able to draw the figures of human organs and internal structures. His primary drawings of a fetus in utero, the vascular system and heart and of bones and muscular structures, are said to be some of the first on human record. Apart from the anatomical researches, da Vinci studied botany, zoology, geology and technical fields of hydraulics, aeronautics and physics.

Burial site of Leonardo da Vinci in Amboise

Personal Life

Leonardo da Vinci has had no known martial affairs and is not known to be romantically involved with any women. He had two pupils: Gian Giacomo Caprotti da Oreno, nicknamed Salai and Count Francesco Melzi. Salai is said to be his favorite student and servant. Though many historians believe that Leonardo da Vinci was Left-handed, a study of his works indicates that he was able to use both his hands properly and sometimes simultaneously. Leonardo passed away at the age of 67, on 2 May 1519. Leonardo left all his earthly belongings to his pupils and his brother.

Study for a portrait of Isabella d'Este (1500) Louvre

Lorenzo de' Medici between Antonio Pucci and Francesco Sassetti, with Giulio de' Medici, fresco by Ghirlandaio

Lorenzo Ghiberti's Gates of Paradise (1425–52) were a source of communal pride. Many artists assisted in their creation

The Portinari Altarpiece, by Hugo van der Goes for a Florentine family

Francis I of France receiving the last breath of Leonardo da Vinci, by Ingres, 1818

Annunciation (1475–1480) - Uffizi, is thought to be Leonardo's earliest complete work

Virgin of the Rocks, National Gallery, London, demonstrates Leonardo's interest in nature

Unfinished painting of St. Jerome in the Wilderness (1480), Vatican

Statue of Leonardo in Amboise

Small devotional picture by Verrocchio, c. 1470

Statue outside the Uffizi, Florence, created by Luigi Pampaloni

A page showing Leonardo's study of a foetus in the womb (c. 1510) Royal Library, Windsor Castle

➯ Leonardo da Vinci was an Italian polymath, inventor and artist of the Renaissance period.
➯ Leonardo da Vinci was born on 15 April 1452 in Italy.
➯ Leonardo da Vinci was an apprentice under Verrocchio and assisted him with the painting 'The Baptism of Christ'
➯ Leonardo da Vinci went to Milan in his youth and stayed there for almost 2 decades.
➯ Leonardo da Vinci painted a mural named The Last Supper for Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan.
➯ World's most famous painting Mona Lisa was painted by Leonardo da Vinci.
➯ Apart from art and sculpture Leonardo da Vinci mastered himself in the fields of Anatomy, botany, zoology, geology, hydraulics, aeronautics, physics.
➯ Leonardo da Vinci sketched drawings for many war machineries.
➯ Leonardo passed away at the age of 67 in 1519.
Personal Quotes
➯ "Iron rusts from disuse; stagnant water loses its purity and in cold weather becomes frozen; even so does inaction sap the vigor of the mind".
➯ "What is fair in men, passes away, but not so in art".
➯ "Constancy does not begin, but is that which perseveres".
➯ "It is easier to resist at the beginning than at the end".
➯ "Necessity is the mistress and guardian of Nature".
➯ "The motions of men must be such as suggest their dignity or their baseness".
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