Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”- Leonardo da Vinci
During the years 1482 until about 1499, Leonardo was able to make a living for his artistic skills while in Milan. It was there that he was able to prove his superb talent as a painter, as he was
commissioned to complete two significant paintings. These artworks included The Virgin of the Rocks, which he painted for the Confraternity of the
Immaculate Conception. Another painting that he made was The Last Supper, intended for the Santa Maria delle Grazie Monastery. In 1485, Leonardo decided to
visit Hungary, where he met the artist Matthias Corvinus. This man was believed to be the painter behind the masterpiece "Holy Family".
Between the years 1513 and 1516, Leonardo spent a huge amount of his time in the Belvedere, situated in Vatican, in Rome. Two other artists were quite popular at that time including Michelangelo and Raphael. Leonardo, along with these two artists, were under the guidance of Pope Leo X.
In 1515, Milan was recaptured by Francis I. In a meeting of the Pope and Francis I, Leonardo was among those who were present at that time. The said meeting was held in Bologna. After knowing about Leonardo's exceptional skills, he was commissioned by Franci to create a mechanical lion that had a capability of moving forward and opening its chest filled with lilies.
During the year 1516, Leonardo became a part of Francis' service, and he was given a permanent residence at the Clos Luce, which was the manor house locted ner the Chateau d'Amboise or the king's royal residence. Leonardo lived the final three years of his well-lived life. Alongside him was an apprentice and friend by the name of Count Francesco Melzi. Furthermore, Leonardo obtained a pension that amounted up to 10,000 scudi.
On May 2, 1519, Leonardo died at his residence at the Clos Luce. It was also noted that during his last years, Francis I had become one of his closest friends. In fact, the king held the head of Leonardo in his death. However, there were accounts that this story may be more of fictitious. Nevertheless, Francis and Leonardo developed a professional relationship that has led to their strong friendship even up to the artists death.
Leonardo was best known for his painting of The Mona Lisa. The painting's focal point was the Mona Lisa's rather elusive smile, as well as the mysterious quality of the woman as depicted in her eyes and corners of the mouth. There was also quite a shadowy feature in this painting, which was obtained from Leonardo's smoke or sfumato.
I love those who can smile in trouble, who can gather strength from distress, and grow brave by reflection. 'Tis the business of little minds to shrink, but they whose heart is firm, and whose conscience approves their conduct, will pursue their principles unto death.”
- Leonardo da Vinci
Throughout his life, Leonardo da Vinci avoided the intrigues of worldly ambitions and vanity. He was a reserved and withdrawn man, not concerned with glory, and yet absolutely sure of the value of his abilities. A consummate intellectual endowed with an extraordinary imagination, he remains the most outstanding figure of the Renaissance.
The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” - Leonardo da Vinci