Art Leonardo Da Vinci Term Paper

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Leonardo Da Vinci

The first object of the painter is to make a flat plane appear as a body in relief and projecting from that plane." (Leonardo Da Vinci)

The Italian philosopher, engineer, architect, mathematician, draftsman, sculptor, and painter - Leonardo Da Vinci - was a man greatly beyond his era. His intellect, conceivably more than that of any other contemporary personality, characterized the revitalization of humanist ideals. Leonardo's personal writings uncover a character of logical inquiry and mechanized creativity that was well advanced for his period of time (Richter, 1970). Leonardo's Last Supper (1495-97) and Mona Lisa (1503-06) are counted in the company of the world's most extensively famous and inspirational artworks of the Renaissance era. He was one of those unique masterminds the likes whereof the world has not witnessed again.

Leonardo Da Vinci was like a man who awoke too early in the darkness, while the others were all still asleep" (Freud, 1916).

The Early Years

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 at a farmhouse in Anchiano, 3 km from Vinci. His mother, Catarina, was a farmer's daughter whom his father, Ser Piero, a public notary, never married. Leonardo was baptized by the cleric, Piero Da Bartolomeo, at the Baptismal chapel in Church of Vinci to Lionardo, not Leonardo. His family had lived in Anchiano since 1400s until Leonardo settled in Vinci, a small town at the base of Monte Albano, Tuscany, Italy, after five years in Anchiano.

Leonardo shifted to his paternal grandfather at Vinci in 1457. Though made a family member at the new home, most probably because Ser Piero had no offspring from his wife, Leonardo was never legitimized.

Joining his paternal, Leonardo went to school in Vinci. His teachers had given up hope concerning each of the questions and doubts that Leonardo had in his mind, and raised. Having learnt how to read, write and calculate, Leonardo Da Vinci was educated in geometry and Latin at school. Realizing that he could not learn enough in Latin from school, Leonardo separately worked on improving his understanding of Latin. For the same, he composed all his notes in Italian (Vasari, 1912-1914).


Leonardo left Vinci in 1466 and moved to Florence at the age of 14. Absorbed by the young artists' drawings, Andrea del Verrocchio took Leonardo under his apprenticeship. Under the professional teaching of the most bestowed and diverse artist of Florence, Leonardo derived most of his inspiration. Leonardo began his apprenticeship with the assimilation of colors and painting easy parts of paintings in Verrocchio's practicum. From 1466 to 1472, Leonardo created no artworks, but skilled himself in the practice of oil painting, acquired from Dutch artists during the era.

Listed in Campagnia de Pittori - the red book of painters from Florence - Leonardo became a member of the Florence Painters' Guild in June 1472. This, though ended his tenure as an apprentice of Verrocchio, Leonardo continued at the workshop of his teacher.

Leonardo, the Painter

Works at Verrocchio's

It was the Renaissance era when Leonardo emerged as a painter in Florence. The earliest known and historically recorded artwork of Leonardo Da Vinci was the picture of the Arnovalley, illustrated in pen and ink on August 5, 1473. The drawing revealed Leonardo's inventiveness and creativity as he drew the scenery such that it may perhaps be concrete. He was the pioneer in such painting since none had pictured it that way before.

Leonardo Da Vinci painted Baptism of Christ with his trainer Andrea del Verrocchio in 1476. It was a custom order for Verrocchio from the cloister S. Salvi. As was famous for, Leonardo painted the landscape, and the front angel in the picture. The dissimilarity in the artwork of both painters is particularly evident from the difference in the two angels.

Independent Works

From 1476 to 1478, Leonardo got few painting orders. It is believed that during this time, he had his own practicum. One of the sketches made in 1478 tells of a youth, which bears resemblance to the angel painted by Leonardo in Baptism of Christ, revealing his painting style. The sketch also showed mechanical components, which revealed that Leonardo had already studied mechanics by then. In the same years, Leonardo also painted the Virgin's picture with the Child. The picture is known for the innocent attractiveness of the Virgin and the thoughtful look on the Child's face as he stares at the flower. The contemporary picture of a Madonna with a Cat is not present. However, a sketch from Leonardo is present in the British Museum.

Leonardo painted the small Annunciation during 1480 and 1481, an attractive small picture of an absorbing and foggy landscape with flowers in the foreground. A typical depiction of Leonardo Da Vinci's style, this painting is present in the Louvre. Another Annunciation is present in Florence, which is though ascribed to Leonardo, but is indicated by research to be an artwork of Lorenzo Di Credi, a co-worker of Leonardo at Verrocchio's practicum.

In 1481, Leonardo Da Vinci painted St. Jermoe. Like most of the other unfinished artworks of Leonardo, this painting is also believed to be incomplete, for had it been, its excellence would have been at par with Mona Lisa. A Vatican art collector bought the painting, unfortunately without the lost head of St. Jermoe. The cut off head was later found in a shoemaker's workshop. Today, St. Jermoe is in the Vatican.

Leonardo Da Vinci began painting The Adoration of the Kings between 1481 and 1482. It was ordered for the decoration of St. Donato Scopeto's Church. Again, this work of art was left unfinished as Leonardo joined to serve Duke Lodovico Il Moro from Milan before completion f the earlier project. He had sketched several versions of the incomplete picture whereof only the brown ground was painted. Each sketch, as is traditional of Leonardo, gave a living touch to all the creatures in the picture (Sirben, 1916). By 1482, Leonardo left Florence for Milan.

Last Years in France

On the invitation of King Francis I, Leonardo left for Amboise in autumn 1516 and spent his last years at the French Court. He did not paint, but spent the years in France studying hydrology. Suffering paralysis since 1517 (Vasari, 1912-1914), Leonardo stated his will on April 23, 1519. He died on May 2, 1519 in Amboise at the age of 67.

Analysis of Leonardo's Artwork

The artwork analyzed is the most famous western painting of Leonardo Da Vinci - Mona Lisa.

About The Painting

The painting of Leonardo is a portrait of a Florentine lady known by the name of Lisa, the portrait commonly called 'Mona Lisa'. The most striking feature of this portrait is the incredible extent to which the portrait seems living, giving the viewer an impression of a great piece of art. Nevertheless, Leonardo surely knew full well how he had to achieve this impact, and through which way.

The Mystery Behind In addition to its living impact, the portrait has a constituent of mystery effect. The painter has employed the means of his 'sfumato' with utmost thoughtfulness. Lisa's expression escapes the viewers at all times by degrees. Undoubtedly, it is more than mere vagueness that is producing this effect. What lies behind the portrait is much more. Leonardo Da Vinci did an exceptionally daring thing that could conceivably be risked only by an artist of his complete mastery. If one looks precisely at the picture, it can be noticed that the two sides of the portrait do not match relatively. This is principally evident in the eccentric reverie landscape in the background.

An Intentional Imbalance

The horizon painted on the left part of the picture appears to be lower than the one on the right by a great extent. As a result, when the observer…[continue]

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