Contact UsBiographyPaintingsPrivacy Policy
Custom Search

Leonardo da Vinci Paintings

Leonardo da Vinci had a deep appreciation for knowledge and research and he used what he learned from the worlds of nature and science in his artistic works. His paintings changed the course of Italian art for years after his death.

As a young boy, of about fourteen years, Leonardo was apprenticed to Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence, Italy. At the time, Florence was one of the greatest influential art cities in all of Europe. Under Verrochcio’s guidance Leonardo was introduced to painting panel pictures, and altarpieces, as well as to marble and bronze sculpture. At the age of 20 Leonardo helped his teacher to finish the painting Baptism of Christ, Leonardo’s contribution was the angel kneeling in the corner. The people of Florence saw the angel as more impressive than the rest of the work and Leonardo quickly surpassed his teacher.

In his artwork, Leonardo sought to portray his paintings from a more realistic, true-to-life standpoint than the artists before him who portrayed highly-stylized figurative religious images. He tried to paint life more realistically and objectively. He implemented the lighting technique of chiaroscuro to help define the three dimensional lifelike quality of real people. He used a technique referred to as sfumato, to add depth and softness to his paintings. His painting The Virgin of the Rocks changed the course of painting. Instead of outlining his figures in dark colors as other artists typically did he created his figures in a way that blended them into the background with light shining on the people projecting them forward in an almost three-dimensional way. Leonardo’s mastery of the techniques of sfumato and chiaroscuro impacted generations of painters to come including master painter Caravaggio.

He used his knowledge of science and nature to paint landscape backgrounds as lifelike as the portrait. He introduced this idea of atmospheric perspective into the art world. Leonardo’s study of nature and science helped him to create paintings that were more realistic. For example, when painting angel wings he used what he knew about bird wings and applied it to the painting. He studied the human body including human proportions and even performed dissections at hospitals in Florence, Milan, and Rome. He used the knowledge he gained through science to create realistic human figures in his paintings and drawings. He believed that understanding nature was just as important as understanding perspective as an artist.

Hundreds of years later Da Vinci’s paintings still rank among the best masterpieces in the world.