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July 15, 2010

Biography: Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo Da Vinci was born in Vinci,Italy in 1452, his mother was a peasant woman named Caterina, who left shortly after his birth leaving him in the care of his father. When Leonardo was fifteen years old, his father knew he had artistic talent and arranged for him to become an apprentice to the famous painter Andrea Del Verrocchio, where he prepared the materials by using minerals, spices, egg yolk, and other materials to mix the paint.

Leonardo soon became a master in the painters’ guild of Florence in 1472, where he worked until 1481, and then went to the city of Milan. There he kept a large workshop and employed many apprentices. During this time he began keeping small pads of paper tucked in his belt for sketching, and later organize his drawings into themes and assembled the pages into notebooks.

Most of what we know about Leonardo Da Vinci comes from his notebooks. He filled pages with sketches of his scientific and artistic idea’s. Centuries before the airplane was invented, he drew sketches of a glider, a helicopter, and a parachute. Other sketches he drew was a version of a military tank and a scuba diving suit.

About seventeen years later, he returned to Florence, where he was welcomed with great honor. It was during this time, Leonardo painted some of his masterpieces, showing great skill in his painting of “Mona Lisa,” but his most famous painting was the “Last Supper”, which he began in 1494 on a wall behind a church altar, painted on wet plaster with water color paint. He also made scientific studies, dissecting corpses to learn about anatomy, observed flights of birds, did research on the movement of water currents and studied fossils to get a better understanding about the history of the world.

Not only was Leonardo a great Renaissance artist, but a scientist, inventor and engineer.

The years from 1350 – 1550 in Europe was called Renaissance which means “rebirth”, because there was a rebirth of interest in art and learning. Renaissance artists used a technique called chiaroscuro, making their paintings look more realistic by soften the edges using light and shadows instead of stiff outlines to separate objects creating more drama and emotion to their paintings. Renaissance artist also did something else, they started signing their names to their work.

Leonardo accepted an invitation to live in France in 1516, where the king admired his work and gave him freedom to pursue his interest, living in a small house near the king’s summer palace, he lived the last three years of his life sketching and working on his scientific studies. The town of Vinci in Italy draws about 500,000 vistors a year to visit the Leonardo Museum and his birthplace.

” Nothing can be loved or hated unless it is first known ” by Leonardo Da Vinci.

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