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Leonardo Da Vinci
Transcript of Leonardo Da Vinci
Many of us know that Leonardo Da Vinci was a brilliant artist with celebrated and poignant masterpieces such as The Mona Lisa, The Vitruvian Man and The Last Supper. These works have resonated within circles of art lovers for centuries, and their true meanings are debated in classrooms, cafes and art galleries all over the world. Aside from his masterful, artistic talent, Da Vinci also possessed an acute scientific mind that he put to good use by inventing and re-inventing dozens of contraptions. However, Leonardo Da Vinci inventions have been somewhat overlooked and one might be pleasantly surprised to discover some of the ideas that have sprung from this artist’s mind.
Aside from ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘Mona Lisa’, Leonardo da Vinci created many other notable works, causing tremendous impact on his peers and the style of future artists. One such masterpiece is ‘Madonna of the Rocks’, whereby his talent for three-dimensional effects, applied to a landscape background, produces a strong reaction in viewers. ‘St. John in the Wilderness’, which combines dimensional technique, skillful perspective, and color effects into one powerful composition, is an illustration of da Vinci’s ingenuity.
While some may deem Leonardo da Vinci paintings tame in their total effect on our society’s modern sensibilities, his development of techniques that immersed the viewer in the world of the painting, and the impact of those techniques cannot be understated.
in Italy, in the small Tucson town of Anchiano, near Florence
"It had long since come to my attention that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things."
Leonardo Da Vinci
A painter, a sculptor, an architect and an engineer, Leonardo Da Vinci's numerous skills have earned him the title of renaissance master. Da Vinci's fascination with science and his in-depth study of human anatomy aided him in mastering the realist art form. While Leonardo's counterparts were known to create static figures in their works, Leonardo always tried to incorporate movement and expression into his own paintings. All the personages in his works are painted with great accuracy and detail that it is sometimes said that Da Vinci painted from the bones outward.
Having lived until the age of 67, Leonardo experienced a very long career that was filled with times during which the painter was celebrated, but at times he was also humiliated and cast away. His life experiences all influenced his works and often, his paintings never left the sketchpad, or were only partially completed, as Leonardo often abandoned his commissions in order to flee from social situations.
Today, there are records of only few Da Vinci paintings, and 20 notebooks. Thankfully, these works have been preserved over the hundreds of years since Leonardo's time, and while his works are scattered in different areas of the globe, everyone can enjoy Da Vinci through the numerous books detailing his life, or through any of the many Da Vinci posters that have been printed.
A well known master in the history of art, Leonard Da Vinci is renown by people all over the map, and those of us who cannot travel to view the true works that the genius created can at least bring home a piece of him when we buy Da Vinci posters or prints. His most famous paintings, and the most popular Da Vinci posters around, are those of The Last Supper, The Mona Lisa and Vitruvian Man: The Proportions of the Human Figure. These works, displayed in Milan and Paris respectively, are among the most influential works ever created.
Beyond the purchase of a book of paintings or Da Vinci posters or prints, there are many resources and much literature detailing Leonardo's life. But for those who want a quick study, The Leonardo Timeline offers a glance through the artist's life, while the biography section of this site offers a more detailed view of Leonardo Da Vinci and what shaped the man and his many talents.
Leonardo da Vinci is famous for a wide range of accomplishments within diverse fields and practices. He was considered a brilliant painter, inventor, scientist, philosopher, engineer and early medical researcher by his peers. With regard to the field of art, historians and scholars agree that Leonardo da Vinci paintings have not only produced a strong impact in the art world, but also boast the extent of this artist’s versatility.
Da Vinci was first and foremost a master painter, whose work is an excellent example of Italian Renaissance concepts, techniques, and typical subject material of the 15th and 16th century. Like other Renaissance painters, da Vinci concentrated on religious or semi-religious iconography for his themes, but he also did portraiture, which was an important part of his income during his life.
What makes Leonardo da Vinci paintings stand out from the work of his peers and contemporaries? Many would say that it is due to his paintings’ unique effect on viewers, ultimately caused by his impressive scientific approach toward his work.
For example, he was one of the few artists who mastered the concept of the “vanishing point”, which involves creating a remarkable sense of depth and three-dimensionality in a two-dimensional frame by drawing strong diagonal lines that intersect in the painting’s background. A great illustration of this technique can be
Da Vinci experimented with perspective to create unforgettable impressions of people and places. For example, in what is perhaps the most recognized portrait in the world, ‘Mona Lisa, viewers feel that the woman in the painting is watching them, regardless of their position in relation to the frame. Furthermore, her mysterious smile seems to suggest a thought. Gazing at Mona Lisa is an eerie experience that can only be felt when looking at the original as some of the effect is lost in reproductions. Many deem her partial smile to be the cause of her unsettling effect on viewers, while others attribute it to her unavoidable eyes. In any case, Mona Lisa’s portrait is an unforgettable, intimate viewing experience.
found in one of his most famous paintings, ‘The Last Supper’. The room in which Jesus and his disciples are sitting appears symmetrical and realistic, a perfect representation of three-dimensional space, whereby the walls seem to be converging inwards.
Leonardo Da Vinci’s fascination with machines began when he was merely a boy. His earliest sketches depict the inner workings of various machines from his era. Eventually, his creativity led to the outlines of flying machines, weapons and musical instruments. Leonardo first became enamored with the idea of flight in the 1480s. He designed what is called the ornithopter flying machine. Although the invention never came to fruition during his time, many believe that the helicopter was indeed inspired by Da Vinci. His creations may also have given rise to today’s hand glider and parachute.
Springs and Things
Da Vinci inventions were diverse. He is credited with creating one of the first primitive alarm clocks, a contraption based on the flow of water. A thin stream of water would drip from one container to another until the second container was full, at which time the legs of the sleeping Da Vinci would be lifted by a combination of pulleys and gears, hence rousing him awake.
Although never actually constructed, Da Vinci designed a crane capable of moving large boulders effortlessly and efficiently, most likely intended for gathering stones from a quarry.
Leonardo Da Vinci inventions encompass the ordinary as well as the fantastic. He has been credited with designing the first war tank. It had to be moved with cranks by the hands of men or could be pulled by horses. The one major flaw in Da Vinci's design was that the front and back wheels were made to turn in opposing directions. Rumors have it that this phenomenon may have been intentional as Da Vinci was believed to be an anti-war individual. He took the makings of slingshots, crossbows and other hand-held weapons and worked on improving their functionality. He fashioned a short-range catapult that, although not far-reaching, was easier and quicker to load than any gun of that time.
Committing many of his sketches to paper, it is rumored that Da Vinci had dozens of journals that depicted his fantastical ideas - most of which might have been viewed as foolhardy.
The Mona Lisa
The Last Supper
-- Leonardo Da Vinci
Emre Aydemir 10B 258