Leonardo Da Vinca

This essay has a total of 1426 words and 7 pages.


Leonardo Da Vinca





The illegitimate son of a 25-year-old notary, Ser Piero, and peasant girl, Caterina, Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy, just outside Florence. His father took custody of the little fellow shortly after his birth, while his mother married someone else and moved to a neighboring town. They kept on having kids, although not with each other, and they eventually supplied him with a total of 17 half sisters and brothers.
Growing up in his father's Vinci home, Leonardo had access to scholarly texts owned by family and friends. He was also exposed to Vinci's longstanding painting tradition, and when he was about 15 his father apprenticed him to the renowned workshop of Andrea del Verrochio in Florence. Even as an apprentice, Leonardo demonstrated his colossal talent. Indeed, his genius seems to have seeped into a number of pieces produced by the Verrocchio's workshop from the period 1470 to 1475. Leonardo got his start as an artist around 1469. Verocchio's specialty was perspective, which artists had only recently begun to get the hang of, and Leonardo quickly mastered its challenges. In fact, Leonardo quickly surpassed Verocchio, and by the time he was in his early twenties he was downright famous. For example, one of Leonardo's first big breaks was to paint an angel in Verrochio's "Baptism of Christ," and Leonardo was so much better than his master's that Verrochio allegedly resolved never to paint again. Leonardo stayed in the Verrocchio workshop until 1477 when he set up a shingle for himself.
In search of new challenges and the big bucks, he entered the
service of the Duke of Milan in 1482, abandoning his first commission in Florence, "The Adoration of the Magi". He spent 17 years in Milan, leaving only after Duke Ludovico Sforza's fall from power in 1499. It was during these years that Leonardo hit his stride, reaching new heights of scientific and
artistic achievement. One of his most popular early works, "The Adoration of the Magi," was painted in 1481 for the Monastery of San Donato a Scopeto as an altar piece. It was never finished due to his departure for Milan, where he offered his services to Duke Ludovico il Moro. He worked on the Duomo
in Milan and the Duomo and Castle in pavia; and painted the Madonna of the Rocks and the Last Supper at this time. He also set up festivals for the Duke and claimed to be an expert in military engineering and arms.
The Duke kept Leonardo busy painting and sculpting and designing elaborate court festivals, but he also put Leonardo to work designing weapons, buildings and machinery. From 1485 to 1490, Leonardo produced a studies on loads of subjects, including nature, flying machines, geometry,
mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture (designing everything from churches to fortresses). His studies from this period contain designs for advanced weapons, including a tank and other war vehicles, various combat devices, and submarines. Also during this period,
Leonardo produced his first anatomical studies. His Milan workshop was a veritable hive of activity, buzzing with apprentices and students.
In 1499 Ludovico il Moro fled Milan ahead of invading French troops. The Gascon bowmen of Louis XII used Leonardo's model for the equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza for target practice. Soon afterwards, Leonardo left Milan inspite of the evident good-will of the French authorities. During the next few years, Leonardo wandered from Mantua, in the court of Isabella d'Este; Venice, where he was consultant for architectural matters from
1495 to 1499; to Florence; before becoming military engineer for Cesare Borgia between 1502 and 1503.
Renaissance Italy was centuries away from our culture of photographs and cinema, but Leonardo nevertheless sought a universal language in painting. With perspective and other realistic elements, Leonardo tried to create faithful renditions of life. In a culture previously dominated by highly figurative and downright strange religious paintings, Leonardo's desire to paint things realistically was bold and fresh. This call to objectivity became the standard for painters who followed in the 16th century.
No slouch when it came to the techniques of the day, Leonardo went beyond his teaching by making a scientific study of light and shadow in nature. It dawned on him that object

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