Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci

  • Born on April 15th, 1452, in Vinci, Italy
  • His mom was a 25 year old peasant named Caterina
  • His Dad took custody of his after he was born
  • Growing up, Leonardo had access to his dad's scholarly texts.
  • Leonardo eventually took on Vinci's tradition of painting.


  • Leonardo's dad apprenticed him to Andrea del Verrochio when he was 15.
  • From 1467 to 1475 he worked in Verrochio's Florence workshop as an apprentice.
  • In 1477 Leonardo set up his own workshop in Florence, and his first commission was for "The Adoration of the Magi".
  • He never finished The Adoration of the Magi, and in 1482 left Florence to work for the Duke of Milan.


  • Leonardo da Vinci spent 17 years in Milan.
  • During this time he painted and scuptured under the commision of Duke Ludovico Sforza.
  • The Duke of Milan also put Leonardo to work designing advanced weapons for war, and the submarine, the tank, allong with other war vehicles.
  • In Milan Leonardo completed "The Last Supper" and "The Virgin On The Rocks", among others, to total about 6 paintings.
  • In 1499 Milan was invaded by the french and Ludovico Sforza fell from power.
  • Leonardo left Milan to look for a new patron.


  • Leonardo da Vinci spent the next 16 years traveling to his patrons across Italy.
  • He travelled for a year in Cesare Borgia's army as a military engineer for Borgia.
  • While in Constantinople, Leonardo met Niccolo Machiavelli, the author of "The Prince"
  • Machiavelli was a patron for Leonardo's "Battle of Anghiari".


  • Leonardo da Vinci worked in Rome from 1513 to 1516.
  • Giuliano de' Medici was his patron in Rome, allong with the Pope.
  • Leonardo took up a number of human anatomy and physiology projects for the Pope.


  • When Leonardo da Vinci's patron, Medici, died in 1516, King Francis gave Leonardo the job of Premier Painter, architect, and engineer of The King.
  • In France he created studies for "The Virgin and Child with St. Anne", studies of cats, horses, and dragons, studies on the nature of water, and drawings of the Deluge, along with various machines.

The Work

Mona Lisa

  • The Mona Lisa
  • Painted from 1503-1506
  • Painted in Louvre
The Mona Lisa is most famous for the subject's smile. Many people find that her smile disappears when you look directly at it, then reappears when you look at the entire painting. I like the Mona Lisa because Leonardo da Vinci did a wonderful job creating the translucency in her veil.

The Mona Lisa uses two techniques that were not yet being used by most artists during that time. Those techniques are Sfumato and Chiaroscuro. Sfumato is using very subtle transitions in color, to create a smoky effect. Chiaroscuro is making one color darker and lighter to create contrast, compared to using different colors to create contrast.

In the Mona Lisa, Leonardo da Vinci exemplifies individualism. He exemplifies individualism by celebrating the individual, the subject of the painting. The subject of the painting is the only person in the painting, and the focus of the painting. In the Mona Lisa, the beauty of the subject is being celebrated.

Works cited