Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci is credited with a wide range of artistic and creative endeavours. The globe over, millions of people go to see Da Vinci’s masterpieces each year.
He is considered to be one of the cleverest humans of all time. His contributions to architecture, art, science, and technology changed the trajectory of Western civilization and the world for generations to come.
On April 15, 1452, Leonardo da Vinci entered this world. Ser Piero da Vinci, a legal notary, and Caterina, a milliner, were his parents. On May 2, 1519, at the age of 67, he passed away at Amboise, France.
While Leonardo da Vinci accomplished much throughout his lifetime, there is no evidence that he ever married or even had children. He explored a wide range of materials, from paint and bronze to wax and marble.
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10. The Mona Lisa
The picture by Leonardo da Vinci has long been considered one of the most fascinating works of art ever created. It is also one of the most copied paintings ever, with many copies existing in a wide range of sizes and materials.
Lisa del Giocondo, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo and the mother of his two children, is the subject of the famous Mona Lisa painting. In the years between 1503 and 1505, Leonardo da Vinci began work on what would become the Mona Lisa.
Louis XIV, King of France, established the Louvre Museum in 1637, where the picture is now on display. It’s hard to realize that this picture is 400 years old since it’s in such pristine condition. It is considered a masterpiece by art experts, but it didn’t gain popularity until 1911, when an Italian employee named Perugia stole it from the Louvre.
Peruggia, a strong Italian patriot, believed the masterpiece belonged in an Italian museum rather than a French one and should be sent there. It was recovered and returned to the Louvre, where it is now seen by thousands of visitors each week.
9. The Last Supper
One of the most famous paintings in the world is The Last Supper. Many people see this artwork as a representation of the importance of a Christian sacrament. The Last Supper is one of the finest frescoes ever created and a masterpiece in the history of art and civilization.
But this isn’t your typical wall fresco; instead, Leonardo used oil paints, his medium of choice. Oil is said to have been Leonardo’s medium of choice because of the extra time it gave him to make corrections and refine his work.
The inherent wetness that permeates most stone wall constructions was something Leonardo knew would have to be sealed if he was going to use oil paintings.
A second layer of gesso, mastic, and pitch helped him offset this. Throughout its long history, the piece of art has required maintenance on several occasions.
Both natural and intentional decay have led to the loss of most of the oil painting’s original varnish. The Annunciation is a wooden panel painted in oil and tempura about 1472–1475. It may be seen at the Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy.
8. The Annunciation
It’s possible that Leonardo finished the Annunciation in his early twenties while still an apprentice in the studio of Andrea del Verrocchio.
The biblical events depicted in Leonardo da Vinci’s paintings are some of his most well-known works. There is a wealth of symbolism and hidden meanings in The Annunciation.
The meaning of the picture may be gleaned from its numerous minute features. Holy and heavenly attributes, such as those linked with the angels who came to visit Mary, are reflected in the painting’s abundance of symmetry, balance, and divine powers. Many other Leonardesque works, like “Virgin of the Rocks” and “Saint John the Baptist,” have stylistic similarities with this picture.
7. Vitruvian Man
The Vitruvian Man, one of the most iconic pictures in the world, has been printed on many posters, prints, towels, and other items. The most well-known picture by Leonardo da Vinci depicts a man within a circle and square to show how they relate to one another in terms of physical size.
Finished between 1487 and 1490, it disappeared for a while until being rediscovered around 1500 among da Vinci’s notes. Marcus Vitruvius Pollio, who penned De Architectura and compared human proportions to architectural principles, inspired the picture that gets his name.
Leonardo’s theory that mans was made in God’s image is shown by the symmetry present in every human being, as seen in this artwork.
The Gallerie dell’Accademia in Venice, Italy is where you may find it, namely in the Gabinetto degli disegni e delle stampe. It is not part of the permanent collection since, like other works on paper, it is only shown sometimes.
As part of a bilateral arrangement between France and Italy, it was recently shown in the Louvre from October 24, 2019, until February 24, 2020.
6. The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist
A big charcoal and black and white chalk painting on eight sheets of paper that have been put together to produce one enormous image of the Virgin and Child with St. Anne and St. John the Baptist.
No such big picture exists, but it has been the subject of speculation that this is a study or “cartoon” for one. Since it is kept in the Royal Academy in London, which is located at Burlington House, it is often called The Burlington House Cartoon.
The glass protecting it and the artwork itself were shattered when a mentally ill man assaulted them with a shotgun; they have subsequently been repaired.
5. Salvatore Mundi
Salvator Mundi, by Leonardo da Vinci, is one of the world’s most valuable paintings. On November 15, 2017, was sold at auction in New York City for $450 million to Saudi Prince Bader bin Abdullah bin Mohammed bin Farhan al Safadi.
The artwork, created in or around 1500, was misplaced for almost two centuries, damaged beyond repair, and repeatedly auctioned off as a lesser-known piece of art.
The Louvre Abu Dhabi had planned for Salvator Mundi to make its public debut in September 2018; however, the museum unexpectedly postponed the presentation, and the artwork has not been seen in public since.
4. Lady with an Ermine
The Lady with an Ermine is said to have been commissioned by Cecilia Gallerani, the mistress of Ludovico Sforza, for her personal collection. According to the legend, she posed for the artist as he was sketching her.
The picture represents a woman reclining with her hand across her lap, while clutching an ermine in her other hand. The beauty and mystery of Lady with an Ermine have made it one of Leonardo da Vinci’s most renowned portraits.
Like many of Leonardo’s works, the composition is a pyramidal spiral, and the sitter is shown in mid-motion to the left, reflecting Leonardo’s lifelong interest in the dynamics of motion.
3. Virgin of the Rocks
The Virgin of the Rocks was the subject of two paintings by Da Vinci. The first, or “prime,” version is housed at the Louvre; the second, or “London,” version is housed in the National Gallery in London and is well known by the same name.
Both versions were initially oil on wood panel, but in around 1806 the French restorer Fr. Hacquin transferred the Louvre version on canvas.
Leonardo’s associates completed two further paintings related to the project, both featuring angels playing instruments. The National Gallery in London has both.
The two paintings have a similar name because they both feature the Madonna and Child beside infant John the Baptist and an angel against a rocky backdrop. There are just two-minute variances in the ingredients between the two.
The angel’s right hand and expression have been reworked significantly. Colours, lighting, foliage, and Leonardo’s use of sfumato in the Louvre version are just a few of the subtle changes between the two works.
2. Ginevra de’ Benci
Ginevra de’ Benci, a Florentine noblewoman, is the subject of Leonardo da Vinci’s 15th-century portrait Ginevra de’ Benci.
Aside from the Mona Lisa at the Louvre and the Woman with an Ermine in Krakow, this is the only other portrait of a woman believed to have been painted by Leonardo.
Unlike Leonardo’s previous pictures of women, she has an almost disinterested look on her face and is devoid of any individuality.
Ginevra’s arms and hands have presumably been gone, and the picture’s bottom was cut off at some point to prevent further damage.
1. Saint John the Baptist
The famous oil painting of Saint John the Baptist by Leonardo da Vinci is made on a walnut wood panel. It was completed in 1516 and is one of da Vinci’s last bodies of work.
In the picture, John the Baptist stands out against a shadowy background as he is shown in chiaroscuro. Like Leonardo da Vinci’s famous Mona Lisa, this saint wears furs, has long, curling hair, and grins mysteriously.
The latest ten-month restoration was the first thorough cleaning and repair of the painting since 1802. The original painting’s subtleties and Color were lost under the varnish, which had yellowed over the course of around 15 layers.
The brilliance of Michelangelo, Leonardo’s younger contemporary, was a perfect example of the Renaissance humanist ideal, and what is left of their respective works is a legacy that has influenced generations of artists to this day.
Leonardo is often considered the progenitor of the High Renaissance since he is among the best artists who have lived.
Despite having many lost works and fewer than 25 credited significant works—including countless unfinished works—he produced some of the most important paintings in Western art.
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