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Quick Facts

Although the circumstances of his birth would place Leonardo at a disadvantage in terms of education and inheritance, biographer Walter Isaacson regards it as a terrific stroke of luck. Rather than being expected to become a notary like his father, Leonardo was instead free to develop the full range of his genius. People surmise that it also imbued him with a special sense of urgency to establish his own identity and prove himself. The paintings generally attributed to Leonardo number fewer than 20, while his notebooks contain over 7, pages. Their diverse content ranges across drawings — most famously, Vitruvian Man — notes of things he wanted to investigate, scientific and technical diagrams and shopping lists.

They comprise perhaps the most remarkable monument to human curiosity and creativity ever produced by a single person.

The Secret Lives of Leonardo da Vinci

Yet when Leonardo penned them, they were just loose pieces of paper of different types and sizes. As a result of his illegitimacy, Leonardo received a rather rudimentary formal education consisting primarily of business arithmetic.


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As a result, he became a firsthand observer and experimenter, uninterested in serving as a mouthpiece for the classics. He frequently took months or years to begin work on commissions, sometimes keeping patrons at bay with lofty pronouncements regarding his creative process.

A giant equestrian statue for the duke of Milan, requiring 70 tons of bronze to cast, might have been his grandest work — if it had ever been completed.

Yet a decade after the commission, Leonardo had produced only a clay model which was subsequently destroyed when invading French soldiers used it for target practice. The contrast between the two men could hardly have been sharper. Leonardo was elegant and evinced little interest in matters religious, while Michelangelo was deeply pious yet neglectful of his appearance and hygiene.

Soon after King Francis I of France captured Milan in , Leonardo entered his service, spending the last years of his life in a house near the royal residence. When death came to Leonardo on May 2, at the age of 67, it is said that the king, who loved to listen to Leonardo talk so much that he was hardly ever apart from him, cradled his head as he breathed his last.

He was a great philosopher.

Vida pessoal de Leonardo da Vinci – Wikipédia, a enciclopédia livre

Painted in oil on walnut in about , it depicts Jesus offering a benediction with his right hand while holding a crystalline orb that appears to represent the cosmos in his left. He also investigated the mechanisms of machines used in his day, inventing many devices like a modern-day engineer. These works also demonstrate his fascination with physiognomy, and contrasts between youth and old age, beauty and ugliness.

The Last Supper ca. Even in its current state, it is a masterpiece of dramatic narrative and subtle pictorial illusionism. Leonardo chose to capture the moment just after Christ tells his apostles that one of them will betray him, and at the institution of the Eucharist.


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The effect of his statement causes a visible response, in the form of a wave of emotion among the apostles. His head is also the vanishing point toward which all lines of the perspectival projection of the architectural setting converge.


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  6. The apostles are arranged around him in four groups of three united by their posture and gesture. Judas, who was traditionally placed on the opposite side of the table, is here set apart from the other apostles by his shadowed face. Mona Lisa ca. An aura of mystery surrounds this painting, which is veiled in a soft light, creating an atmosphere of enchantment. She looks directly at the viewer, but her arms, torso, and head each twist subtly in a different direction, conveying an arrested sense of movement.

    Da Vinci — The Genius

    Leonardo explores the possibilities of oil paint in the soft folds of the drapery, texture of skin, and contrasting light and dark chiaroscuro. Bambach, Carmen. Bambach, Carmen C. Leonardo da Vinci, Master Draftsman. Exhibition catalogue..

    Walter Isaacson’s biography portrays a man obsessed with knowledge and almost impossible to know.

    New Haven: Yale University Press, The Metropolitan Museum of Art. See works of art.