Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da VInci

Leonardo Da Vinci's background

Leonardo Da Vinci was born in 1452, was educated in his father's house receiving the usual elementary education of reading, writing and arithmetic. In 1467 he became an apprentice learning painting, sculpture and acquiring technical and mechanical skills. He was accepted into the painters' guild in Florence in 1472 but he continued to work as an apprentice until 1477. From that time he worked for himself in Florence as a painter. Already during this time he sketched pumps, military weapons and other machines.

Leonardo Da Vinci's Role during the Renassance

While war stopped the Sforza project, da Vinci also did not complete many of his paintings and other works. His diversified interests, including scientific law and nature, often sidetracked him. In the early 1490s, da Vinci began chronicling his thoughts about painting, architecture, mechanics and human anatomy. These notebooks contained wide-ranging ideas, including plans for a “flying machine,” bicycle and drawing of a fetus in Utero and the human skeleton.

His interests and intellect traversed so many disciplines that he symbolized the term “Renaissance Man.” Unfortunately, these notebooks were not published and his ideas did not advance scientific understanding in the Renaissance period.

His Greatest Works

The "Mona Lisa" is da Vinci’s best-known work and some historians argue it is his greatest artistic achievement. While it has been speculated that the half-length painting was a man in drag or not even based on a living model, many accounts identify the subject as Lisa del Gioconda, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, a wealthy silk merchant.

While historians believe the painting was commissioned for their home and to commemorate the birth of their second child, it never hung in their home, as da Vinci never delivered it. It is thought that it was completed sometime between 1505 and 1507, but there are indications that da Vinci continued to work on it as he tried to achieve perfection. Today, the painting hangs behind bullet-proof glass in the Louvre Museum in Paris.

Death And End

Da Vinci left Italy 1516, when French ruler Francis I offered him the chance to paint and draw at his own pace while living at Château of Cloux, a country house near Aboise, France. Correspondence with Francesco Melzi, his assistant at the time — and some speculate, his lover— indicate that he may have been unhappy in his final years. He spent just three years in France and died there on May 2, 1519.

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