Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most recognizable faces of the Italian Renaissance. He is celebrated as a genius in the worlds of science and art. The sketches of Leonardo da Vinci are as
extravagant as anything modern-day writers of science fiction can come up with. The flying objects, armored vehicles and adding machines he routinely brought to life with his pen are years
ahead of the period the artist lived in. Of course, his accomplishments as a painter alone would be enough to earn him a spot in the history books until the end of time. The humble origins
of Leonardo da Vinci begin in a town called Vinci in the Republic of Florence. He was born out of wedlock to a peasant woman in 1452. He informally studied Latin, geometry and mathematics
during his childhood. He became the apprentice of an artist named Andrea di Cione when he was 14 years old. It was during this period that the man who would become known as an artistic
genius was exposed to a variety of theoretical ideas and technical skills.
The Early Career of a Genius
Most scholars credit Baptism of Christ
with being the first of da Vinci's paintings to earn him widespread attention. He then entered a period of productivity that resulted in famous
works like St. Jerome in the Wilderness
and Virgin on the Rocks.
The Creation of Iconic Works
Leonardo da Vinci had become an unstoppable force by 1490. It was during the following decade that he produced The Last Supper.
He would go on to create Mona Lisa
in the decade
after that. The fame of da Vinci was so large by this point in time that royals and nobles delighted in being in his company. He also spent time in the company of contemporaries like Raphael
The Later Years
Leonardo lived primarily in the Belvedere in the Vatican between 1513 and 1516. He did so under the permission of Pope Leo X. He was notably present for the meeting between King Francis
I of France and Pope Leo X that took place in Bologna following France's capture of Milan. The artist and the French king formed a friendship that would last until da Vinci's death in May of
1519. Some stories even claim that the king held da Vinci in his arms as he took his final breath. The body of Leonardo da Vinci was buried in the Chapel of Saint-Hubert in Château d'Amboise
in France. His will requested that 60 beggars follow his casket during his funeral.
A Man of the Renaissance
It is easy to argue that Leonardo da Vinci was the most accomplished and ambitious artist to emerge during the Renaissance. His unique techniques for laying paint on canvas are still being
studied to this day. His detailed knowledge of human anatomy brought a dimension of realism to his work that perfectly represented the humanistic ideals of the Renaissance. He was a master
at conveying the way humans register emotion through their expressions and gestures.