Leonardo Da Vinci - Renaissance Man
By: Max • Essay • 1,992 Words • January 6, 2010 • 2,148 Views
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There are not many men in the history of the world that have inspired, influenced and revolutionized the modern world as Leonardo da Vinci has. His works in Arts, Science, Engineering and many others has influenced many people in their respective fields. His works in Engineering such as the designing of a machine that can fly has gone on to influence the Wright brothers who invented the airplane. His research in Anatomy and other biological works has made pathways for surgeons, doctors, and many scientists in their research. Leonardo Da Vinci’s paintings are considered to be the best in the world and priceless which led the pathway to painters creating lifelike paintings with emotion. Overall, Leonardo Da Vinci has been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man" and as a universal genius, a man infinitely curious, infinitely inventive, and infinitely influential to the modern world.
Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in Vinci, Italy in poor family as his father was a painter himself and his mother a peasant girl. He grew up in his father’s home and had 17 siblings. As a child, Leonardo was heavily interested in books which were supplied by family and friends; he was also quickly exposed to the long standing tradition of painting in his family. At age 15, Leonardo’s genius was shown in his paintings as they were amazingly lifelike. He was so good at his work that his master at that time Verrocchio decided never to paint again probably because Leonardo was better than him. Leonardo stayed Verrocchio’s apprentice for a few years till he believed that it was time to make some money with his work. He moved to Milan and worked for the Duke for around 17 years. It was during those 17 years that he reached new barriers of achievement in science and arts. He designed military machines, buildings, and weapons as a side interest for the Duke making extra money, but it was his other works that showed his true genius. From 1485 to 1490, Leonardo produced studies on loads of subjects, including nature, flying machines, geometry, mechanics, municipal construction, canals and architecture; designing everything from churches to fortresses. Also during that period he produced his first studies on anatomy. Leonardo’s interest were so many that many of his works were left unfinished and only few of his paintings were finished such as "The Last Supper" and "The Virgin on the Rocks," and he left dozens of paintings and projects incomplete. He spent most of his time studying science, either by going out into nature and observing things or by locking himself away in his workshop cutting up bodies or searching universal truths. He developed the habit of recording his research, thoughts, and studies in a notebook; his works covered painting, architecture, the elements of mechanics, and human anatomy. Over the next 16 years, Leonardo worked and traveled throughout Italy for a number of employers and it was during this time he met Niccolo Machiavelli who was also considered a genius much like Leonardo during the Renaissance era. In the coming years, Leonardo Da Vinci finished many of his few paintings such as the “Mona Lisa” and many others. In 1516, he was offered the title of Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect of the King by Francis I in France. He suffered from paralysis on his right hand but was still able to draw and teach, in his late years he produced studies on cats, dogs, horses, dragons, St. George, anatomical studies, studies on the nature of water, drawings of the Deluge, and of various machines. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519 in Cloux, France.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s art is considered to be the finest in the world because of his ability to paint amazingly lifelike and original paintings. Even though, the Renaissance was centuries away from our time, Leonardo Da Vinci had a keen eye for realism. As there were no cameras back then, the paintings had to be done with immense accuracy but not many were able to do that with the exception of Leonardo Da Vinci. His predecessors were heavily involved in painting in symbolic and bizarrely religious paintings, this made Leonardo take a fresh approach which was painting realistically. This approach was courageous and new which went on to become the standard for painters who followed in the 16th century. His thinking was very different about paintings when comparing to other artists at that time, his research on light and shadow became revolutionary to future painters and artists. He believed that objects were not comprised of outlines, but were actually three-dimensional bodies defined by light and shadow; this technique was called chiaroscuro. The other technique he used in his paintings was called sfumato; he saw object's detail and color changed as it receded in the distance. He used sfumato to create
atmosphere and depth in his paintings. Leonardo Da Vinci was considered