Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci
Yancy Knight
November 27, 2010
Art 1010, 12-2 pm
Before starting this project, I thought I knew a lot
about da Vinci. I knew he was a painter, did many sketches of
a variety of things, from figures drawn from studying
cadavers, to machines. I knew he was an inventor on paper,
but did not actually make most of the things he sketched. I
believe the most important thing about da Vinci is that he was
not only a painter. I was actually very surprised at how well
diversified he was.
He was a skilled painter, sculptor,
architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer,
inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. I chose to research da Vinci
because I have always been fascinated with his style and how talented he was. I expected to
hear a lot about his paintings.
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was born April 14, 1452 as an illegitimate child to lawyer
Piero da Vinci and peasant Caterina. Da Vinci was apprenticed to Verrocchio when he was 14.
Verrocchio had one of the nicest workshops in Florence at the time, which is where da Vinci did
most of his early work. Not only did he learn painting,
but a variety of other skills such as metallurgy and
leather working.
He continued his education at
Verrocchio’s workshop until the age of 20, when he
qualified as a Master. Leonardo grew up in Florence
during the height of the Renaissance, and as a result
had a wide variety of influences. Two of his biggest influences, however, were Masaccio and
Ghiberti. Contemporaries of Donatello, these two men were talented painters who were skilled
in frescoes and figure drawing, respectively. Da Vinci was influences heavily by the Catholic
Church, a major political entity of the time. He was commissioned many times by the church to
paint paintings and create sculptures and busts of popes,
cardinals, and saints.
Lorenzo was also very close to
Lorenzo de Medici, the powerful Florentine ruler of the
Although Leonardo was skilled in many arts, he is
best known as a painter. He is famous for two of his
paintings especially, the Mona Lisa, and the Last Supper.
His painting style and subject changed only slightly over
the course of his career.
While studying under
Verrocchio, he used a very formal layout for his mostly
religiously-subjected paintings, but as his career progressed, he began to use a less formal
layout, such as using oblique angles. Much of da Vinci’s work was commissioned by the
Catholic Church and was mostly functional, but some of his work is shrouded in mystery as
many conspiracy theorists scrutinize his works, especially the Mona Lisa, the Last Supper,
Madonna of the Rocks, and other famous pieces. His sketch of the Vitruvian Man is also very
Leonardo has always been held in high regards. In his time, he was seen as a celebrity,
to the point that the king of France supported him in his old age, and is said to have held da
Vinci in his arms when he died. Today, da Vinci is still heralded as one of the most brilliant,
widely-talented individuals to have ever lived. His works appear all over, such as on the dollar,
the euro, t-shirts, reproductions, and parodies.
I personally am a huge fan of Leonardo da Vinci. Da Vinci will always be remembered as
a brilliant, highly diversified individual. I believe the most important thing to know about da
Vinci is that he was not only a patron of the arts, but of science as well. Today, these two fields
seem to be opposites, but da Vinci proves that they are really much more similar than most
people realize.
Works Cited
"BBC Science | Learn about Leonardo da Vinci ." BBC - Homepage. N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec.
2010. <http://www.bbc.co.uk/science/leonardo/>.
"Leonardo da Vinci: Experience, Experiment, Design." Studio International - Visual Art, Design
and Architecture. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2010. <http://www.studiointernational.co.uk/reports/da_vinci.asp>.
Richter, Jean Paul. "The Literary Works of Da Vinci Index." Internet Sacred Text Archive Home.
N.p., n.d. Web. 2 Dec. 2010. <http://www.sacred-texts.com/aor/dv/index.htm>.
"Siegfried Woldhek shows how he found the true face of Leonardo | Video on TED.com." TED:
Ideas worth spreading. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.
Stanley, Diane. Leonardo da Vinci . New York: Morrow Junior Books, 1996. Print.
"Web Gallery of Art, image collection, virtual museum, searchable database of European fine
arts (1000-1850)." Web Gallery of Art, image collection, virtual museum, searchable
database of European fine arts (1000-1850). N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec. 2010.
"the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci." the drawings of Leonardo da Vinci. N.p., n.d. Web. 1 Dec.
2010. <http://www.drawingsofleonardo.org/>.