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