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Leonardo da Vinci Biography

    Birth Year : 1452
    Death Year : 1519
    Country : Italy

Leonardo da Vinci, the epitome of the Renaissance man, was born in Vinci, Italy, a village near Florence. He was reared by his grandfather.

In 1467, Leonardo entered Verrocchio's studio, and in the same year became a member of the Painter's Guild. Da Vinci worked with Verrocchio for several years, collaborating with him on paintings and working on individual paintings of his own. In 1478, he became an independent artist under the protection of Lorenzo the Magnificent. By 1482, Leonardo left Florence for Milan, where he was to stay for nearly 20 years. He was attached to the court of Lodovico Sforza and applied his talent to music, pageantry, decorating, portrait painting, and engineering, particularly of weapons for war and bridge construction. After 1500 Florence was his home, but da Vinci traveled widely, particularly in 1502-1503, when he inspected and constructed rural fortifications for Cesare Borgia. During this period, da Vinci painted the Mona Lisa and worked on dissection of corpses at the hospital and theoretical mathematical problems. Leonardo returned to Milan in 1506 and was welcomed by the French governor, Charles d'Amboise. He was 61 in 1513 when he entered the service of Giuliano de'Medici, brother of Pope Leo X. Leonardo applied his skills and talents to architectural and engineering projects and continued his notes for his famous Treatise on Painting.

François I invited him to Amboise in 1517, and Leonardo lived in the small chäteau of Cloux. He enjoyed great honor and the esteem of the kind and the court. Leonardo died there in 1519 and was buried in the Church of St. Florentin, which was destroyed during the French Revolution. Leonardo's knowledge extended to such fields as philosophy, natural history, biology, anatomy medicine, acoustics, optics, astronomy, botany, geology, flight science, mathematics, warfare, hydraulics, and the arts. Leonardo's heavily illustrated notebooks are among the most fascinating documents in the world, not only for Leonardo's experimental ideas and inventions, but also for his accurate anticipation of a world that would exist long after his death. Painting was only one of many mediums for communicating ideas for Leonardo, but it was the supreme one for expressing spiritual values. Leonardo's color was warm, and the landscapes behind his portrait heads or religious scenes are in a fine mist. This sfumato, a delicate gradation of light imparting an atmospheric effect, gives a 3D quality to the foreground figures. The most difficult and highest aim of painting, according to Leonardo, is to depict "the intention of man's soul."