Leonardo da Vinci

Monica Bontrager
Mr. Croftchik
First Hour
October 3, 1998
H. English 4

Leonardo da Vinci was a man of many worlds. He was a great influence on his time and of the time of today. Leonardo was known as many things, he was known as a sculptor, architect, writer, musician, philosopher, engineer, and scientist, but most of all he was known for his impressive paintings that influenced the world.
Leonardo was born in Anchiano, Italy on April 15, 1452, to Piero da Vinci, a prominent public official in Florence, and a peasant woman named Caterina. He was born out of wed lock and shortly after his birth they were married, but not to each other. Caterina married a man named Antonio, and Piero married Albiera di Giovanni Amadori. As an infant, Leonardo was cared for by other family members, his uncles, grandmother, and Aunts. Later, his father took him into his own house where he was forced to join and get along with half-brothers and half-sisters. While living with his father, he was receiving the best education he could get and his talents and intelligence started to show at a very early age.
In 1469, by the age of 17, his father sent him to study in the workshop of a well-known Italian Renaissance master named Andrea del Verrocchio. He remained there until 1476 and Leonardo had picked up a variety of skills. He spent several years there practicing a variety of things, drafting engineering, architecture, and building, but most of all he study painting and drawing. The education Leonardo received from Verrocchio was very practical. For his first project, Leonardo was assigned to build a golden sphere and cross to sit on top of the domed cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiori. It was a huge undertaking that required complicated mathematical calculations and casting techniques. The project taught Leonardo that “scientific knowledge and ate could work hand in hand”. Although most people think of Leonardo da Vinci as an artist, he was also known for other things. Throughout his life, he has made an incredible headway in the area of science. He has sketched out many amazing designs for working machines and technology. The amazing thing about this was that none of da Vinci’s inventions or creations were even recognized or expanded upon until some 300 to 400 years later. Like the airplane or glider, Leonardo invented or developed these incredible machines, but they were not expanded upon until years later. He was also known as a man of science because of his drawings of the human body. In his free time, Leonardo decided to figure out how the human body works. In this time, around 1503, he dissected over 25 human bodies and made sketches and notes of all kinds in order to figure the human body out.
Not only did Leonardo have a wonderful mind, but we all know that he also had wonderful hands that painted like none of us could ever dream of doing. Some of his paintings like “The Last Supper” and the “Mona Lisa” are among the most widely popular and influential paintings of the Renaissance period. He also painted “Portrait of Ginevra de Benci”, “Annunciation”, “Lady with an Ermine”, “Portrait of a Musician”, “La Belle Ferroniere”, “Madonna of the Rocks”, and “Virgin and Child with St. Anne”.
In 1493, Leonardo began to paint one of his most famous works, “The Last Supper” in a convent located shortly outside of Milian. This painting took Leonardo roughly about three years to complete and has been hailed as the ultimate mark of the Renaissance; it was finished in 1496. After that, he spent most of his time shuttling back and forth between Milian and Florence, working on a variety of scientific, engineering and artistic projects. He undertook some of the first geological surveys and maps of the Lambarb region of Italy. However, the crucial achievement of these years is surely the painting of the widely talked about painting, the “Mona Lisa”.
The “Mona Lisa”, also known as the “La Giaconda”, is the most famous, most visited and the most studied portrait ever painted, and also has a lot of questions to it. It is truly the great mysteries of the art world. Previously, it was thought to have been painted in 1503,