Leonardo Da Vinci Biography
Italian painter, draftsman, sculptor, architect, and engineer whose genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. His Last Supper (1495-97) and Mona Lisa (1503-06) are among the most widely popular and influential oil paintings of the Renaissance. His notebooks reveal a spirit of scientific inquiry and a mechanical inventiveness that were centuries ahead of his time.
There has never been an artist who was more fittingly, and without qualification, described as a genius. Like Shakespeare, Leonardo came from an insignificant background and rose to universal acclaim. Leonardo was the illegitimate son of a local lawyer in the small town of Vinci in the Tuscan region. His father acknowledged him and paid for his training. He was taught by Andrea del Verrocchio (1435-88), an engaging painter whose great achievement was his sculpture.
The definitive polymath, Leonardo had almost too many gifts, including superlative male beauty, a splendid singing voice, magnificent physique, mathematical excellence and scientific enquiry. This overabundance of talents caused him to treat his artistry lightly, seldom finishing a picture, and sometimes making rash technical experiments. The Last Supper, in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, for example, has almost vanished, so inadequate were his innovations in fresco preparation.
Best Known Oil Paintings: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Madonna of the Rocks
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