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Leonardo da Vinci

Genius of the Renaissance (1452 - 1519 AD)

QUICK FACTS

NAME: Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci

OCCUPATION: Artist, Inventor, Scientist

BIRTH: 15 April 1452 AD, Vinci (Florence), Italy

DEATH: 2 May 1519 Amboise, France

WORKS: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Lady with an Ermine, Virgin of the Rocks, The Vitruvian Man

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was a painter, architect and inventor who demonstrated his infinite genius in a phenomenal variety of artistic elements. He is not just a symbol of the Renaissance Era but also its most exceptional treasure and mystery. He is seen as the most diversely talented person in history. His natural genius was so diverse that he epitomized the term "Renaissance Man". He was described as a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination."

Life

Leonardo Da Vinci was an Italian polymath, born out of wedlock on the 15th of April 1452 to a notary Piero da Vinci and a peasant woman named Caterina in Vinci, a region in the Republic of Florence. He was educated by a Florentine painter Andrea del Verrocchio. He was apprenticed by sculptor Andrea and later qualified as a master in the Guild of St. Luke by the age of 20. He spent most of his early working life in Milan, where he worked in the service of Ludovico Sforza (il Moro), the duke of Milan. He later worked in a few other places which include Rome, Bologna and Venice.

Artist and visionary

He was best known for his art works, The “Mona Lisa” which is the most famous and admired of his works. It holds the title of being the most parodied portrait. Another famous artwork is the “Last Supper” which is the most reproduced painting of all time and a timeless masterpiece. The “Mona Lisa” is da Vinci’s only surviving portrait from the Renaissance period and is housed at the Louvre museum in France. The “Last Supper” painting also known as the cenacle is Da Vinci’s only surviving fresco. He believed that art was unarguably connected with science and nature.

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Inventor and scientist

Da Vinci is also respected and admired not only for his artistic but also his technological ingenuity. He made important discoveries in anatomy, optics, civil engineering, hydrodynamics and even weaponry. Few of his designs were constructed or even feasible during his lifetime, as the modern scientific approaches to metallurgy and engineering were only in their infancy during that era. He conceived the idea for the invention of a helicopter, a tank, a calculator, concentrated solar power, a type of armored fighting vehicle, the double hull, and he also outlined a rudimentary theory of the tectonic plates.

Some of his inventions still entered the world of manufacturing unexpectedly such as the Automated Robbing Winder and a machine used for testing the tensile strength of a wire. In one of his letters to Ludovico IL Moro he claimed to be able to create a variety of machines which could both protect and prepare the city for a siege. He later found employment in Venice as an engineer where he devised a system of movable barricades to protect the city from attack.

Death

He spent the last three years of his life in the Belvedere, the Vatican in Rome. He died at Clos Lucé on the 2nd of May 1519 at the age of 67. The cause of his death was generally stated to be recurrent stroke. He was buried near the palace church at St. Florentine. His exact grave was almost impossible to identify because the French Revolution nearly obliterated the church, and completely demolish its remains. He lived an intriguing life filled with mystery, innovations and adventure; he is truly the Genius of the Renaissance.