Leonardo Da Vinci

This essay Leonardo Da Vinci has a total of 2326 words and 21 pages.

Leonardo Da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci is one of the greatest and most ingenious

men that history has produced. His contributions in the areas of art,

science, and humanity are still among the most important that a single

man has put forth, definitely making his a life worth knowing.

Da Vinci, born on April 15, 1452, is credited with being a

master painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, and

scientist. He was born an illegitimate child to Catherina, a peasant

girl. His father was Ser Piero da Vinci, a public notary for the city

of Florence, Italy. For the first four years of his life he lived

with his mother in the small village of Vinci, directly outside of the

great center of the Renaissance, Florence. Catherina was a poor

woman, with possible artistic talent, the genetic basis of Leonardo?s

talents. Upon the realization of Leonardo?s potential, his father

took the boy to live with him and his wife in Florence (Why did).

This was the start of the boy?s education and his quest for knowledge.

Leonardo was recognized by many to be a ?Renaissance child?

because of his many talents. As a boy, Leonardo was described as

being handsome, strong, and agile. He had keen powers of observation,

an imagination, and the ability to detach himself from the world

around him. At an early age Leonardo became interested in subjects

such as botany, geology, animals (specifically birds), the motion of

water, and shadows (About Leonardo).

At the age of 17, in about 1469, Leonardo was apprenticed as a

garzone (studio boy) to Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine

painter and sculptor of his day. In Verrocchio?s workshop Leonardo

was introduced to many techniques, from the painting of altarpieces

and panel pictures to the creation of large sculptural projects in

marble and bronze.

In 1472 he was accepted in the painter?s guild of Florence,

and worked there for about six years. While there, Leonardo often

painted portions of Verrocchio?s paintings for him, such as the

background and the kneeling angel on the left in the Baptism of Christ

(Encarta). Leonardo?s sections of the painting have soft shadings,

with shadows concealing the edges. These areas are distinguished

easily against the sharply defined figures and objects of Verrocchio,

that reflect the style called Early Renaissance. Leonardo?s more

graceful approach marked the beginning of the High Renaissance.

However, this style did not become more popular in Italy for another

25 year (Gilbert 46). Leonardo actually started the popularization of

this style. For this reason Leonardo could be called the ?Father of

the High Renaissance.? Leonardo?s leading skills emerged through his

paintings and his techniques. Leonardo?s talents soon drew him away

from the Guild and in 1472 Leonardo finished his first complete

painting, Annunciation. In 1478 Leonardo reached the title of an

Independent Master. His first large painting, The Adoration of the

Magi (begun in 1481), which was left unfinished, was ordered in 1481

for the Monastery of San Donato a Scopeto, Florence. Other works

ascribed to his youth are the Benois Madonna (1478), the portrait

Ginevra de? Benci (1474), and the unfinished Saint Jerome (1481).

Leonardo expanded his skills to other branches of interest and in 1481

Leonardo wrote an astonishing letter to the Duke of Milan, Ludovico

Sforza. In this letter he stated that he knew how to build portable

bridges; that he knew the techniques of constructing bombardments and

of making cannons; that he could build ships as well as armored

vehicles, catapults, and other war machines; and that he could execute

sculpture in marble, bronze, and clay.

Thus, he entered the service of the Duke in 1482, working on

Ludovico?s castle, organizing festivals, and he became recognized as

an expert in military engineering and arms. Under the Duke, Leonardo

served many positions. He served as principal engineer in the Duke?s

numerous military enterprises and was active as an architect

(Encarta). As a military engineer Leonardo designed artillery and

planned the diversion of rivers. He also improved many inventions

that were already in use such as the rope ladder. Leonardo also drew

pictures of an armored tank hundreds of years ahead of its time. His

concept failed because the tank was too heavy to be mobile and the

hand cranks he designed were not strong enough to support such a


As a civil engineer, he designed revolving stages for

pageants. As a sculptor he planned

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Topics Related to Leonardo Da Vinci

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