Leonardo da Vinci (1452 - 1519), the famous master, was born in a Tuscan village. He was apprenticed to a leading Frorentine workshor, that of the painter and sculptor Andrea del Verrocchio (1435 - 1488). The Verrochio's fame was very great, that the city of Venice asked from him to create the monument to general, with a great charity work, Bartolommeo Colleoni.
Leonardo studied the anatomy of the horse, and we see how clearly he observed the muscles of Colleoni's face and neck. It's oustanding the posture of the horseman, and we imagine his figure leading his army with a pure realistic expression.
In a workshop capable of producing such masterpieces, the young artis had the apportunities and the tools to learn and experience, many different techniques
the posture of the horseman's Verrocchio's work
The greatness and the simplicity of Verrocchio's work
But Leonardo was a genius, whose brilliant mind would always be a example of pure admiration and wonder. The outline of Leonardo's creativity, is not so dark because of the preservation of his works, sketches, drawings and notes, from his admirers and plenty elements of some books, he intended to write! The more one reads from these papers, the more questions creates to himself about the excellence Leonardo have shown to all these different fields of search and most vital the contributions he has made to nearly all of them.
He thought that the artist business was to explore the visible world just as his predecessors had done, only more thoroughly and with greater instensity and accuracy.
Famous for his beauty and technical virtuosity
Leonardo, Study for the Composition of the Last Supper (Venice: Accademia)
Leonardo would never accept what he read at the universities without checking it with his own eyes. When he was facing a problem, he didn't rely on the authorities but he experiment with the it possible solutions till he found the ideal one.
There was nothing in nature which did not arouse his curiosity and challenge his ingenuity.
first to dissect the female body
Study of the male body
Study of the Proportions of the Human Body
He explored the secrets of the human body dy dissecting more than thirty corpses.
Leonardo has also investigated the laws of waves and currents, and spend many years in observing and analysing the flight of incects and birds, which provide him fundamental information about the flying machine which he was sure would one day become reality.
Leonardo da Vinci and his invention drawings for helicopter
His contemporaries were regarded Leonardo as a strange and uncanny being, while Kings and Princes wanted to use the astonishing wizard as a milinary engineer for the building of fortifications and canals, of novel weapons and devices.
In time of peace Leonardo was amusing and entertain the people with mechanical creations of his invention and new effect about the stages performances and pageantries.
Da Vinci's manuscript
Leonardo was left handed, and had taken to writing from right to left so that his notes can only be read in a mirror. It is possible that he was afraid of divulging his discoveries for fear that his opinions would be found heretical.
Most of all, it is likely that Leonaedo had no ambition to be considered a scientist, simply because the reason of his researches and experiments, was the loss of his interest, a long with the problems solution.
Leonardo often failed to carry out his commissions. He would start on a painting and leave it unfinished, despite the urgent requests of the patron, and he was insisted that it was himself who had to decide when a work of his was considered finished, and he refused to let it go out of his hands unless he was satisfied with it.
Mona Lisa (1503 - 1506)
76,8 x 53,3 cm
What strikes us first is the uniqueness of the way Lisa looks alive.
Sometimes she seems to mock at us, and then again we seem to catch something like sadness in her smile.
The great observer of nature knew more about the way we use our eyes than anybody who ever lived before him.
How to give pleasure to the eye.
Everyone who has tried to draw a face knows that what we call its expressions rests mainly in two features : the corners of the mouth , and the corners of the eyes. These parts were that Leonardo has left deliberately indistinct, by letting them merge into a soft shadow. That is why we never quite certain in what mood Mona Lisa is really looking at us. But is also something more about this effect. If we look carefully at the picture, we see that the two sides do not quite match! This is more obvious in the landscape of the backround, where the horizon on the left seems to lie much lower then the one on the right. Consequently, when we focus on the left side of the picture, the woman looks somehow taller or more erect than if we focus on the right side.
Using all these effects Leonardo might have produced a clever piece of jugglery rather than a great work of art..
Leonardo da Vinci
Last Supper (1495-98)
469 x 880 cm
Never before had the sacred episode appeared so close and so lifelike.
Then as now, works of art were often judged by laymen according to their degree of likelikeness. Imagine the reaction of the monks when they had sufficiently admired this extraordinary illusion of reality, and they would turn to the way in which Leonardo had presented the biblical story.
The new picture was very different from any of these paintings.
There was drama in it nad excitement.
Christ has just spoken the tragic words, and those on His side shrinks back in terror as they hear the revelation. Judas is not segregated from the rest, and yet he seems isolated.
He alone does not gesticulate and question, He bends forward and loops up in suspicion or anger, a dramatic contrast to the figure of Christ sitting calm and resigned amidst this surging turmoil.
Despite the excitement which Christ's words have caused, there is nothing chaotic in the picture. The twelve apostoles seem to fall quite naturally into four groups of three, lnked to each other by gestures and movements.
There is so much order in this variety, and so much variety in this order, that one can never quite exhaust the harmonious interplay of movement and answering movement.
The Last Supper remains one of the great miracles wrought by human genius.
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