Paintings, Drawings, Quotes, Biography
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Leonardo da Vinci and his paintings

Leonardo Da Vinci Portrait
Leonardo da Vinci was a true genius who graced this world with his presence from April 15, 1452 to May 2, 1519. Like Athens in the age of Pericles, Renaissance Italy is a summit in human history. Today, no name better seems to symbolize that age than Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on 15th April, 1452. He was born in a small village near Florence. Leonardo was Ser Piero Da Vinci's illegitimate son who had no other children. He was a renowned notary in Florence. Ser Piero raised Leonardo himself, and made Leonardo's mother marry a common villager. When Leonardo was just a boy, he was sent to Andrea del Verrocchio for apprenticeship. At the time, he was one of the leading artists in Florence.

Verrocchio was a goldsmith, painter, sculptor and craftsman. His passionate concern and exceptional skill ensured quality of execution. He also had a keen interest in expressing the mobility of the human figure. There elements formed Leonardo's artistic abilities and ventures. In the beginning, most of Leonardo's works stemmed from tradition. In the later stages, they were revolutionary, and against traditional concepts.

Between 1500 and 1506, Leonardo Da Vinci spent time in Florence. With three exceptional works, Leonardo was able to heighten and confirm his fame - Mona Lisa, Battle of Anghiari, and Virgin and Child with St. Anne. Even before the Virgin and Child with St. Anne was completed, it was critically acclaimed by the residents of Florence. Some of the most important elements in the painting were calculated effects of dynamism, three dimensional quality and tension in composition.

Mona Lisa was able to set the standard for future portraits of Leonardo. In the 21st century, the woman in the painting was revealed to be Lisa del Giocondo. She was married to a Florence merchant called Francesco del Giocondo. Hence, the painting got its alternative title - La Gioconda. In the painting, you can see a half body portrait of a woman. In the backdrop, you can notice distant landscape.

With Mona Lisa, Leonardo Da Vinci used a very simple formula for making portraits. Due to the balance between the landscape and sitter, Mona Lisa has been one of the most analyzed and popular paintings of all times. Moreover, Leonardo created sensuous curves of the woman's clothing and hair through sfumato. The undulating rivers and valleys also perfectly echoed behind her.

In Mona Lisa, Leonardo was able to achieve perfect harmony between every element of the painting. He was able to capture the link between nature and humanity. This was able to make the paintings a work of genius and vision. According to historians, Mona Lisa served as the foundation for many other portraits, including Portrait of Maddalena Doni.

With the Battle of Anghiari, Leonardo's art reached another high point. Most of the preliminary drawings have been properly preserved. They can depict the lofty conception of the exceptional science of painting. In this painting, he has used the laws of equilibrium to enhance the value of his art. He used everything he had studied about mechanics. The flags held by the horsemen have been designed with the principles regarding the center of gravity.

For a moment, viwers will think that the expanding and intense movement of the rider is frozen. Leonardo's studies in physiology and anatomy have influenced his representation of animal and human bodies, especially when they are s hown in a state of excitement. Leonardo Da Vinci described everything extensively, including the puffing of lips, baring of teeth, signs of anger and other expressions. On the canvas, viwers can see the horses and riders portraying similar expressions.

The painting had very imaginative trappings of a popular event in history. Leonardo was able to put everything into perfect balance, and make it timeless. The copies and cartoon of the primary scene of battle were influential for many other artists of the period. According to art historians, Leonardo's works became the school for the artist world. From Rubens of the 17th century to Delacroix of the 19th century, his works were able to influence everyone. There was not a single artist who was left untouched.

After 1507, in Rome, France and Milan, Leonardo wasn't much involved in painting. When he was living in Milan, he returned to Leda theme. He had been occupying it for a decade. Around 1513, he was able to complete a standing version of Leda. This particular painting became a popular model for the Figura Serpentinata.

This painting influenced a number of classical artists like Raphael. The drawing represents curious, sensual and enigmatic effect on the onlookers. Perhaps, Raphael began painting the St. John the Baptist, which was completed in France. Leonardo used the light and shade to achieve the sculptural atmosphere and volume.

In addition to this, to signify the saint's enigmatic smile, Leonardo presented Christ's forerunner that created mystic oracle. Leonardo's art was the art of expression that strive consciously to bring out the hidden meaning of theme. Consummate paintings from this period, like Pointing Lady, also shows the works of undiminished genius.

When it comes to art of expression, the last manifestation of the artist was depicted in the series of pictorial sketches called Visions of the End of the World. In this work, Leonardo was able to depict a strong power of imagination. It was born of fantasy and reason to achieve the highest level. According to Leonardo, the immaterial forces in the universe were invisible themselves. He believed they appeared in every material thing they set in motion.

What Leonardo Da Vinci observed in the eddying of air and swirling of water, in the shape of rocks and growth of plants, was able to assume perfect shape in rainstorms and cloud formations. According to Leonardo, the framework of the entire world was spectacular, and required to be explained with excellence. He believed in the laws of proportion and harmony. This was perfectly depicted through his paintings. Every creation from this master artist went on to become popular and acclaimed.

According to Leonardo Da Vinci, there are some specific rules that govern the mechanisms of the world, and rule life and death. They make sure everything created in nature stays in order. This was the underlying principle for Leonardo's visions and expressions. His art was based on perception and interpretation. Even in the modern age, Leonardo's works continue to be analyzed and appreciated for the artist's mastery in expression.

The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.” - 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.

Masterpieces of Leonardo da Vinci

  • The Mona Lisa
  • The Last Supper
  • The Virgin and Child with St Anne
  • Self Portrait
  • Madonna of the Yarnwinder
  • The Baptism of Christ
  • The Annunciation
  • The Vitruvian Man
  • Lady with an Ermine
  • Bacchus
  • Embryo in the Womb
  • Litta Madonna
  • Head of a Young Woman
  • Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci
  • Leda and the Swan
  • St. John the Baptist
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