LEONARDO da VINCI
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, more commonly Leonardo da Vinci or simply Leonardo, was an Italian polymath whose areas of interest included invention, painting, sculpting, architecture, science, music and astronomy.
Leonardo da Vinci (1452 – 1519) is one of the world’s greatest thinkers, artists and philosophers. In several different fields, from science to astronomy, he proved to be both innovative and several centuries ahead of his contemporaries. He is considered to be a key person in the birth of the European Renaissance period, which saw a flowering of new ideas, scientific discoveries and creation of beautiful art.
In 1482 Leonardo went to the court of Ludovico Sforza for 16 years in Milan. Here he continued painting and also branched out into other interest such as engineering and anatomy. During this period he painted the famous “Madonna on the Rocks” and also “the Last Supper” This has been described as one of the greatest spiritual paintings. With Christ at the centre of the picture it embodies great feeling and action as Christ is about to announce his imminent betrayal. Unfortunately over the time the quality of the original painting has deteriorated despite frequent restoration attempts.
In 1499 his patron L. Sfoza was defeated by the French invasion, thus Leonardo returned to Florence. During this period he painted the fresco of the battle of Anghiari. This artwork was to exert tremendous influence over future artists. However it was unfortunately never completed and was later destroyed. It was also in this period that Leonardo completed The Mona Lisa.
The Mona Lisa is one of the worlds most famous and intriguing pictures. The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a wife of a Florentine noble. For several days she came to Leonardo and sat for her portrait to be painted. However she refused to smile, Leonardo even tried hiring musicians but to no avail. One day just for a fleeting second she gave a faint smile and Leonardo was able to capture it. Her smile encapsulates a tremendous mysteriousness which is both fascinating and intriguing.
Between 1506-1510 Leonardo spent time in Milan working on behalf of the very generous French King Lois XII. In 1513 he travelled to Rome where he enjoyed the patronage of the new Medici pope, Leo X. Here he worked with contemporaries such as the great Masters Michelangelo and Raphael. In 1515 he left to settle at the castle of Cloux, near Amboise by the kind invitation of Francis I of France. Here he spent his last years free to pursue his own studies. He died in 1519 leaving behind one of the greatest body of artistic and scientific works.
Clancy's comment: One smart man. Wow, 780 million dollars for the Mona Lisa!