My name is Leonardo Da Vinci, and I am one of the most influential artists and scientists from the renaissance period. I was born on April 15, 1452, just outside of Vinci, Italy. I am the illegitimate son of Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci and Caterina.
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My full given name is Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci”, meaning “Leonardo, son of (Mes)ser Piero from Vinci.” I lived for about 5 years in Anchiano, and then went to live with my father, grandparents, and uncle in Vinci. When I was fourteen I became an apprentice to Andrea del Verrocchio. Verrocchio was a sculptor, painter, and goldsmith, and the official sculptor for the Medici family. I worked for nine years in Verrocchio’s studio in Florence, and met many talented artists through the years, like Sandro Botticelli.
I also learned many new skills while working for Verrocchio, such as drawing, painting, sculpting and modeling, as well as technical skills such as drafting, chemistry, metallurgy, metal working, plaster casting, leather working, mechanics and carpentry. My earliest work was a pen and ink drawing of the Arno River valley. After nine years I left Verrocchio to start my own studio in Milan. I was commissioned to paint for many influential people. While in Milan I painted some of my most famous works. These included the Last Supper, and Virgin on the Rocks. In these paintings I used a technique known as sfumato, which is when the colors gradually blend into each other. The Last Supper is now on display in the Louvre along with some of my other works.
One of which is the Mona Lisa, which is probably one of my most famous works. The painting is a portrait of La Gioconda, the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The picture represents a motif of happiness through the woman’s expression. It is now a property of the government of France. Another one of my most famous works is The Vitruvian Man. The Vitruvian Man was made with pen and ink shows a man in two positions, surrounded by a circle and a square. I created this in the year 1487. The picture shows the proportions of the human man and God’s perfect creation of the human body.
I believe that the perfection of the proportions of the human body is a reflection of the proportions of the universe. The drawing is now held in the Academic Gallery in Venice. When the French Invasion happened in Milan I went back to Florence. When I got there many friends and artists had seen and loved my work so I was commissioned to create many more paintings. This was actually when I created the Mona Lisa. I later returned to Milan and was commissioned to create an equestrian statue. While in Milan I also created many drawings about science like Anatomy and Botany.
When France recaptured Milan I was named premier architect, artist and mechanic to the king. I then completed my last painting St. John the Baptist, in which St. John is pointing towards the heavens to show the importance of baptism. I died at Clos Luce, on May 2, 1519 at the age of 67 from a stroke. I was buried at Chapel of Saint-Hubert, Amboise, France due to my close friendship with the king King Francis I of France.
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