The best of Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest Renaissance painters, has continually passed the test of time to remain as an icon in artistic traditions and techniques. He is well remembered through the many innovative compositions he made in his life, which thoroughly investigate the anatomy to represent the human body accurately. His style has created a considerable amount of reference in the human psyche in the illustration of character. Many, if not all, of his work, are unique as he experimented with different methods of representing space and three-dimensional drawing on two-dimensional space. Because of this curios nature, there are many works he left unfinished, but there are also many that present a lifelike complexity while explaining the marvelous human nature. Many people, especially his immediate successors, found a lot of inspiration in his experiments. He is, until today, viewed as a person who wanted to create his own path and leave a mark in the track of history.
Up until his death in 1519, Leonardo’s fame had already spread the world. He left a gift of many notebooks full of jottings and sketches that would lay a background for future artists. Despite his fame, there are very few finished works attributed to his name. Some of the pieces were finished by those who learned directly from him, while others were lost. Many others were destroyed, as those that were overpainted did not feature anywhere. Perhaps his curiosity to explore the vast world of art is the reason he never finished many paintings; he only used them to test many theories in his discovery journey.
The background of Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci is said to have been a man of many characters. Born on 15th April 1452, he grew up to become a curious fellow. He was an Italian polymath with different careers, including a scientist, a mathematician, an engineer, and inventor, an anatomist, a painter, and architect, and a writer. he was born as an illegitimate son, a result of a love affair between Piero da Vinci and a peasant girl by the name Caterina in Florence. He then went through his education in the studio of one of the most famous Florentine painters, Verrocchio. He started his career life serving Ludovico il Moro in Milan before moving to Rome, Bologna, and Venice. In his final years, King Francois I gave him a home in France where he spent his last years.
Leonardo's architecture and art painted in totally the “Renaissance man.” It is through his curiosity that he was able to set a background for many inventions to come, years after his death. His power of imagination can be seen through his combination of ideas from the different fields he was familiar with. The whole world recognizes the name Leonardo da Vinci, even those who have no interest in art. He is perhaps the most talented man ever to live, as depicted in his works.
Leonardo’s best works
As stated above, Leonardo has been described as perhaps the most curious man ever to live. He created many works, most of which were unfinished. However, there are a few paintings that he finished himself, most of which have received world recognition. The list below contains five of his most famous paintings.
The Mona Lisa (1503 – 1519)
No one in the world, especially in art, can say they don’t know about the Mona Lisa. It is the most famous artwork in the world. Now sitting behind bulletproof glass protection in Louvre Museum in France, the painting draws thousands of visitors from all corners of the world. Many are compelled by the mysterious gaze and enigmatic smile of the sitter in the painting.
The Mona Lisa appears like a young woman dressed in a modest, thin veil with somber colors and no jewelry, but there is more to it than meets the eye. Apart from showcasing Leonardo’s mastery of realism talent, it presents his skillful knowledge of sfumato as well. As depicted in the soft face, the skill used subtler gradations of light and shadow to create form, as opposed to regular use of line. Every part of the painting reveals the painter as a patient man. It might have taken tireless efforts to create the delicately painted veil, the fin tresses, and careful rendition of the folded fabric. The Mona Lisa is today a priceless piece of art that belongs to the public, and it cannot be bought nor sold.
Last supper (1495 – 1498)
The “Last Supper” by Leonardo da Vinci was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza, the duke of Milan. It came when Leonardo worked under him in his first days in the city. The painting, which is now famous, was given to the Dominican monastery of Santa Maria Delle Grazie. It tells the full story of the gospel, according to Mathew 26:21-28. Jesus had just declared that one of his disciples would betray him; Leonardo creates a picture based on how a man’s character can be revealed through their posture. You can see different reactions from the group, some yelling, some standing, and some looking at him.
Vitruvian Man (1490)
This simple pen-and-ink drawing, the “Vitruvian Man,” was found in one of his notebooks. It is an illustration of Vitruvius’s theory that states an ideal man can fit within a circle and a square. Leonardo was always fascinated by math; he, therefore, drew this male figure in two superimposed positions. The first position has the man’s arms outstretched to touch all points of a square, while in the other, his legs and arms form a circle. The painting is a simple representation of Leonard's effort to understand different texts and expand them.
Self Portrait (1490-1515)
The “Self Portrait,” a drawing of an old man with long hair and a beard made in red chalk, is often thought to be how Leonardo might have looked. However, some scholars argue the sitter appears too old for Leonardo, who died at age 67. Nevertheless, it is still a famous piece depicting the painter's profound mastery of his skill.
The Virgin of the Rocks (1483 – 1486)
The Virgin of the Rocks is believed to be the first of two Leonardo’s works on the legend of the Holy Family meeting John the Baptist. It shows a time before they fled to Egypt when Herod declared a massacre. This is the first painting on the subject, now at the Louvre. Another one that came in 1508 is found at the National Gallery. It is a famous painting that reveals the holy family appearing more human than divine.
Author: James Hamilton