Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance artist, was born on April 15, 1452 in Anchiano, Italy and died on May 2, 1519 in Amboise, France. What sets da Vinci apart from other Renaissance artists is that he never received any kind of formal education (Palermo). However, at his home, Leonardo was taught about subjects such as reading, writing, and mathematics (Palermo). As he was growing up in the rural part of present-day Tuscany, da Vinci spent the majority of his time outdoors, where he was amazed by nature. Based on his journals, Leonardo is shown to have a passionate interest in the characteristics of water and the actions of raptors.
Artists all have a thing in common: their works and paintings are finished and then published. Leonardo da Vinci is not like these other artists. Da Vinci painted his works extremely slowly, so the majority of his works aren’t finished and published. An example of a painting Leonardo actually finished is the Mona Lisa. On the other hand, examples of paintings da Vinci started but never finished include The Virgin and Child with St. Anne, St. Jerome in the Wilderness, and The Adoration of the Magi.
In the case of the majority of people in the world, children’s parents are married. Surprisingly, Leonardo da Vinci isn’t one of these people. Yes, da Vinci is an illegitimate son, meaning that his parents are not married. Leonardo’s parents are Messer Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a notary, and Caterina, who is commonly believed to have been a local peasant (Palermo). According to some accounts, Caterina was a slave who was owned by Piero.
Leonardo da Vinci worked during the Renaissance era, which lasted from the 14th century to the 17th century. Other artists of the Renaissance era include Lorenzo Ghiberti, Filippo Brunelleschi, Donatello, Masaccio, Michelangelo Buonarroti, Raphael Sanzio, Giorgione, Titian, Jan van Eyck, Albrecht Durer, and Hans Holbein. Characteristics of the Renaissance era include the rebirth of humanism and new discoveries in fine arts, music, literature, philosophy, science and technology, architecture, religion, and spirituality (Elkins). In addition, there were uses of realism, more focus on people and landscape instead of religious themes, and leisure activities such as sports (i.e. jousting) and theater. Combined with the aforementioned characteristics of the Renaissance era, there were also revolutionizing inventions. Such inventions include the printing press, the cast-iron pipe, the portable clock, the rifle barrel, the shotgun, and the screwdriver and wrench (Elkins).
Some works of Leonardo da Vinci include The Last Supper, the Mona Lisa, and The Annunciation. First, the media used for The Last Supper are tempera, oil, gesso, mastic, and pitch. Da Vinci used one-point perspective in The Last Supper. Next, the media used for the Mona Lisa are oil paint and poplar wood. Leonardo used aerial perspective to create the Mona Lisa. Lastly, the media used for The Annunciation are oil and tempera. Da Vinci used linear perspective to create The Annunciation.
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