Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci, was born on 15th April 1452, in Vinci, Italy.  He was born out of wedlock, to a peasant mother, but raised by his father Ser Piero, a well to do individual.

Aged fourteen, Leonardo da Vinci, became the apprentice of the artist Andrea del Verrocchio, and learnt the trade of drawing, sculpting, arts and metalwork.  By the time he had reached twenty, he had attained qualification as that of a master artist in the Guild of Saint Luke, and set up his own workshop.

Leonardo, resided in Milan, until the French invaded it in 1499, and fled along with many other citizens.

Before returning to Milan in 1506, he visited Venice and Florence, where he painted his best known work, the Mona Lisa (1503-1506).

Upon his return to Milan, he stayed there till 1513, and during the period 1508-1512, he painted the Sistine Chapel.  From 1513-1516 he lived in Rome.

At the invitation of the French King Francis I, Leonardo da Vinci moved to the Chateau of Cloux near Amboise in France, where he died on 2nd May 1519, aged sixty-seven.

The fame of Leonardo da Vinci surviving paintings has meant that he had been regarded primarily as an artist, but not for the surviving notebooks, we would not know this brilliant mind capable of inventing objects of to-day, back then.  He invented the bicycle, airplane, helicopter and parachute in a basic form, some 500 years ahead of their time.

The Last Supper: In 1482, Lorenzo de Medici, commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to create a silver lyre and bring it to Ludovico il Moro, the Duke of Milan.  From 1482-1499, Leonardo was commissioned to work on many projects, and it was during this period he worked on “The Last Supper”.

Mona Lisa: Leonardo da Vinci, most well known painting, and most famous painting in the world, has to be the “Mona Lisa” a private commission.  It was his aim to raise the human form, to that with a majestic appearance…one never forgotten.

Final Quote by Leonardo da Vinci: For once you have tasted flight you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.

The Mona Lisa: The Facts

The Facts about the Mona Lisa… painted by Leonardo da Vinci…

The painting of the Mona Lisa by Leonardo da Vinci was started by the painter in his native Italy.  It would not be completed until da Vinci moved to France, and King Francois I of France, asked da Vinci to complete it.

Leonardo da Vinci died on the 2nd May 1519 in Amboise, France and buried in the grounds of the castle.  Many historians believe that the Mona Lisa painting, could be a self-portrait of Leonardo himself.

In 2003 the Louvre Museum in Paris launched a renovation, and the painting of the Mona Lisa received its own room.  A glass ceiling lets in natural light, the painting is displayed in a shatter-proof display case, with spotlights to enhance the paintings true colours.  The case temperature is set at 43-degree F.

Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa was painted on a wooden plank.  Renaissance artists of the time, preferred wood in preference to canvas.

When Jackie Kennedy, asked if the Mona Lisa painting could be exhibited in the United States, the French President; de Gaulle approved her request.

In 1911, the painting of the Mona Lisa was stolen, and attracted much attention from the general public.  It became known as the crime of the century.  The painting was returned to the Louvre, some two years later.

Well known art dissidents came under the suspicion of the theft, like the renowned Pablo Picasso and Guillaume Apollinaire the poet who once stated that the picture should be burned.

The Mona Lisa arrived at the Louvre Museum, and has received many love letters and flowers from admirers.

In 1956, in two separate attacks, the Mona Lisa came under attack from acid and the pelting of rocks.  This led to the addition of bullet proof glass, which repelled spray paint in 1974 and coffee in 2009.

The Mona Lisa painting belongs to France, and as such belongs to the people and can never be sold.

Artist and Inventor: Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci; was a Renaissance painter, sculptor, architect and inventor, one gifted with a curious mind.  He would study the laws of Science and Nature.

Leonardo was born out of wedlock on the 15th April 1452 to parents Ser Piero and Caterina a peasant woman near the village of Anchiano, some eighteen miles to the west of Florence.

His father being a Florentine notary raised the young Leonardo.  Aged five was moved to his father’s estate of “Vinci,” where he was raised by his uncle and grandparents.

Leonardo’s artistic talents were evident at an early age, and aged fourteen began an apprenticeship with Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence.  He was trained in the technical skills of metal work, leather arts, carpentry, drawing, painting and sculpting.

In 1472, aged twenty Leonardo qualified for membership as master artist in Florence’s Guild of Saint Luke and set up his own workshop, whilst continuing to collaborate with del Verrocchio as his student.

Leonardo da Vinci’s earliest known and dated work, a pen and ink sketch drawn in 1473 of Arno Valley, which is now housed in London’s National Gallery.

Head of a woman oil painting dated (1500-1510) also known as “La scapigliato” housed at Parma’s National Gallery in Italy.

Verrocchio completed his “Baptism of Christ” around 1475, aided by his student Leonardo, he who painted parts of the background, and the young angel holding the robe of Jesus.  According to writings by Giorgio Vasari (artist) in 1550, Verrochio felt humbled when he gazed upon the work of his student, that he never picked up a paint brush again.

In 1478 Leonardo was commissioned for an altarpiece to reside in the chapel, located within Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.

In 1481, Leonardo was commissioned to paint the “Adoration of the Magi” by Augustinian Monks of Florence’s San Donato a Scopeto.

In 1482, Leonardo was commissioned to produce a silver Lyre by Lorenzo de Medici.  That which would be presented to Ludovico Sforza as a symbol of peace.

In 1490, Leonardo drew the “Vitruvian Man” depicting a male figure, positioned within a circle and square.

In 1495, Leonardo was commissioned to paint “The Last Supper” by Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan, to grace the dining hall wall inside the monastery of Milan’s Santa Maria delle Grazie.

In 1503, Leonardo commenced work on what would become the most famous painting in the world; “The Mona Lisa.”

Who was the subject for the Mona Lisa, mystery has surrounded her identity?  Princess Isabella of Naples and Leonardo’s own mother have been put forward as possible candidates.

In 1505, Leonardo invented the flying machine, based on his studies of avian aeronautics.

At a time of political strife in Mila, all French citizens were expelled. In 1513 Leonardo chose to leave Milan, taking with him Salai and Melzi his two studio assistants and move to Rome.  Giuliano de Medici, the brother of Pope Leo X, gave Leonardo a monthly stipend and a suite of rooms within the Vatican.

In 1515, Leonardo was made “Premier Painter, Engineer and Architect” King Francis I of France.

Melzi and Leonardo departed to France, living at the Chateau de Cloux, alongside the Loire River in Amboise.  He hardly ever undertook any painting, and spent his time researching scientific works.

On the 2nd May 1519, aged sixty-seven, Leonardo da Vinci died.  Melzi became the main heir to Leonardo’s estate, and the Mona Lisa was bequeathed to Salai.

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