Leonardo Da Vinci - Artist, Inventor, Engineer
The Great Leonardo Da Vinci
His full name is Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, but most simply know him as Da Vinci or Leonardo Da Vinci. He was born on April 15, 1452 and died May 2, 1519.
Most know him as a famous painter, but he was so much more.
Three reasons to love Da Vinci
He was creative, innovative, and a genius.
He was centuries ahead of his time.
He is one of those people that is incredibly multi-talented.
The Name Da Vinci - Your first impression
What work do you think of when you hear the name Da Vinci?
The Life and Times of Leonardo Da Vinci
A little history on the legend
At age 14 (although I've also read 17), Leonardo and his father moved to Florence, where he apprenticed to Andrea di Cione, known as Verrocchio. Among the painters apprenticed or associated with the workshop and also to become famous, were Ghirlandaio, Perugino, Botticelli, and Lorenzo di Credi.
According to tradition, Leonardo posed for Verrocchio's David, as seen at left.
In the studios of men like Verrocchio's, artists were regarded primarily as craftsmen and only the master such as Verrocchio had social standing in the community. It was when the student created their "masterwork" that they could themselves be considered a master.
Leonardo would have been exposed to a vast range of technical skills and had the opportunity to learn drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, leather working, carpentry, and mechanics. The study obviously included artistic skills of drawing, painting, sculpting and modeling.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a quick study and his genius soon eclipsed that of his master and by age 20 he joined the painter's guild of Florence. From there he began getting commissions to work on projects from various people of high standing and wealth throughout current day Italy.
Da Vinci Trivia
A little known bit of trivia about Leonardo Da Vinci was that he may have been dyslexic. He would often write his notes backwards, which is common with left-handed, dyslexic people.
Da Vinci: The Artist
Although being most known for his paintings, he was not a prolific painter, instead he was more of a draftsmen, keeping journals filled with sketches and detailed drawings. One of the things that he is known for is his study of human emotions, often following a subject around for hours trying to get a feel for their expressions.
He was also known for his scientific approach to light and shadows, allowing his paintings to take on a three dimensional feel. Da Vinci paintings were realistic, which was not the norm for that era. His influence on painting realism became the standard for painters who followed in the 16th century.
The Last Supper represents the scene from the final days of Jesus, as narrated in the Gospel of John 13:21, when Jesus announced that one of his Twelve apostles would betray him.
The Last Supper is one of his best-known and worst-preserved pieces of art from Da Vinci. Doomed from the start by Leonardo's experimental technique, the mural began to deteriorate even before the artist's death. Within 50 years it was almost indecipherable, and it was repainted twice during the 18th century.
The painting continued to suffer, as Napoleon's soldiers almost destroyed it. If not bad enough, later the monks that cared for it actually cut a door through the bottom of the painting!
Much later, the painting miraculously survived the allied bombings of World War II. Finally, now it is well cared-for in Santa Maria delle Grazie, in Milan Italy.
Books about Da Vinci's Art
Some of his flying machines
Da Vinci: The Inventor
He was well regarded and valued as an engineer during his time. In 1502, Leonardo produced a drawing of a single span 720-foot (240 m) bridge as part of a civil engineering project for Ottoman Sultan Beyazid II of Istanbul. The bridge was intended to span an inlet at the mouth of the Bosporus known as the Golden Horn. Beyazid did not pursue the project, because he believed that such a construction was impossible.
Leonardo's vision was resurrected in 2001 when a smaller bridge based on his design was constructed in Norway.
Golden Horn" bridge built on October 31, 2001 in Oslo, Norway
A Short List of his Inventions - He had many firsts
He was clearly a man ahead of his time. Here is a list of just a few of his inventions and ideas. He was truly an amazing man!
- He sketched the first parachute
- The first helicopter
- The first airplane
- The first tank
- The first repeating rifle
- A swinging bridge
- A paddle boat
- The first 'motor' car
- A machine for testing the tensile strength of wire
- A calculator
- A double hull for ships and boats
Books about Da Vinci's Inventions
Da Vinci was known as an exceptional scientist. He practiced more as an observer and theorist.
Da Vinci documented scientific theories, such as a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. During the 1490s he studied mathematics under Luca Pacioli and sketched various complex shapes, in a skeletal layout to be engraved as plates for Pacioli's book Divina Proportione, published in 1509. In the book, Da Vinci is credited with first ever published drawing of a Rhombicuboctahedron (at left) was done by Da Vinci, in the Divina Proportione.
In addition, he quickly became master of topographic anatomy, drawing many studies of muscles, tendons and other visible anatomical features, as seen to the right. Leonardo's formal training in the anatomy of the human body began with his apprenticeship to Verrocchio. His teacher insisted that all his students learn anatomy. Leonardo closely observed and recorded the effects of age and of human emotion on the physiology, in particular; rage.
His practice was to describe it in utmost detail.
Since he had no formal training in science, his scientific genius was less highly regarded by his contemporaries than it would have been otherwise.
Even though he studied his subjects by careful observations, he did take part in dissecting human and animal corpses, after being given permission by various hospitals.
A page from Leonardo's journal showing his study of a foetus in the womb (c. 1510), as seen at left.
Da Vinci Videos
Learn More about Leonardo Da Vinci
- Leonardo da Vinci - Wikipedia
Leonardo da Vinci From Wikipedia
- the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci
An ever-growing collection of drawings by Leonardo da Vinci thumbnailed and available for downloading.
- Leonardo da Vinci's Paintings and Drawings
Leonardo da Vinci's Paintings and Drawings
- Leonardo Da Vinci's Life
Discusses Leonardo Da Vinci posters, art prints, and paintings including his biography and a detailed timeline.
Da Vinci was often known to wear pink to make his complexion look more "fresh"