Friday, November 4, 2011

Friday Art and History Feature - Leonardo da Vinci

NaBloPoMo Post #4

Leonardo Da Vinci
 Two interests have always followed me throughout my life, since I was a little girl - writing (and reading) and art. I remember my mom taking me to all of the museums and exhibitions in Kiev (where I was born and spent my childhood) during the day before school (my school had two shifts, morning and afternoon).
I also remember buying every possible art book that I could find and being fascinated by artist biographies. I painted a little myself as well, mostly watercolors.

One of the artists that influenced me the most is Leonardo Da Vinci, the ultimate Renaissance man. His creativity, ingenuity and an amazing thirst for life have become an inspiration to many generations.
He remains an inspiration to this day. Much of his life, however, remains a mystery.

Mona Lisa
Leonardo's most famous works are Mona Lisa and the Last Supper. Everyone is familiar with them. However, there's a tremendous body of work beyond that.

The Last Supper
 Leonardo was born in 1452 in a Tuscan town of Vinci, to a wealthy notary by the name of Pier da Vinci and a peasant woman by the name of Caterina. At the age of 14, he became an apprentice in the workshop of the artist Verrocchio. During his life, some of the most powerful and influential people of the period served as his patrons. The list includes Lorenzo di Medici, Cesare Borgia and Francis I of France, with whom he became good friends at the end of his life. He died in 1519 in France, under the protection of Francis.

During his life, Leonardo was involved in engineering, medicine, architecture, mathematics and anatomy. His famous notebook, which he wrote using a special code (you can only read it in the mirror), contains detailed drawings of anatomical structures, archetectural designs and engineering inventions. In fact, Leonardo designed a helicopter that, if built today, would be able to fly.

Leonardo's helicopter
 Vasari, the most famous biographer of Renaissance artists, described Leonardo da Vinci as possessing “outstanding physical beauty”, “infinite grace”, “great strength and generosity” and “regal spirit and tremendous breadth of mind”.

Anatomical studies from Leonardo's notebook
As much as is known about this amazing individual, there’s still much mystery surrounding him. For example, it is possible that he was a vegetarian. His spiritual believes are not clear. Even though he lived in Christian societies, it seems that his believes were much more agnostic. Since expressing this would be seen as heretical, it is thought that he hid messages about his believes in his artwork. This was part of the inspiration for the Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Another mystery that still remains is Leonardo’s sexuality. Many historians believe that he had a few homosexual relationships throughout his life, especially with his two students Salai and Melzi.

Leonardo Da Vinci, possibly the most versatile genius in history, remains an enigma.
Vitruvian man


  1. Oh, thank you for sharing this. I've seen some of his work in the Louvre and they are even more beautiful up close and personal. <3

  2. Brenda, I'm dreaming about going to Louvre. Perhaps one day soon I'll get to see his works up close.

  3. I had no idea he wrote a notebook in code. That's amazing! Thanks for sharing!

  4. It amazes me how well-rounded, if you will, he was. Da Vinci was able to make so many breakthroughs in so many areas of knowledge. Just think-where may the studies of medicine, anatomy, and different technologies be today if it weren't for him? A true artistic revolutionary. I quite enjoyed this post!

  5. Becca, yes, he was truly an amazing individual and he always inspired me. Especially how curious he was about everything.


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