Leonardo da Vinci


(Instructors’ name)



Leonardo da Vinci


Florentine artist is the word used to describe the work done by Leonardo da Vinci. He is famous for being a renaissance, high great master of the arts. Other achievements, which are attributed to him, are a scientist, sculptor, and painter, engineer an architect. Research and knowledge seeking, were some of his life’s passions and they were in line with his scientific and artistic endeavors (Capra,56). Italian art has up to now been influenced by the work done by him. He is known for coming up with many inventions that have raised the standards of painting, which currently exist in the world. Also, his contributions to modern science have been witnessed in aspects such as anticipated hydraulics, optics as well as anatomy. Leonardo once claimed that “Art is never finished, only abandoned.” (Capra,57).

Biography Information

In the year 1452, in the month of April, in Florence at a town inhabited by Tuscan people, Leonardo da Vinci was born. His mother a peasant was married to a notary, who had extreme wealth. Leonardo’s parents ensured that he was well educated in that; he attended Florence’s best schools. The latter was known for its many artistic and intellectual centers. In many ways, he can be described as being artistic for example, he was talented in music and the arts, and also, good in making conversation (Kemp, 23). Leonardo worked for Verrocchio, who is another famous painter from Italy. It is while working for him that Leonardo came up with the painting of the Kneeling angel. In the year 1481, while acting as a master, who was independent, he started with his painting of the Adoration of the Maqi. But unfortunately, he never completed this task. During his youth, he came up with many paintings such as Ginerva portrait (1474) and the Benois Madonna (1478). In the few years to come, Leonardo worked as an engineer in Milam, under the duke’s orders. He mostly dealt in matters related to architecture and the military at that time (Turner, 45).

As the years went by it is evident that Leonardo was famous with many of the leaders in the world. It reached a point whereby, the French King Louis XII made him the painter of his court. Leonardo made sure that his personal life was the same as his professional life. He occasionally went home for the purposes of keeping his inheritance intact, as well as visiting his relatives. In the year 1519, Leonardo died, but after he had made great accomplishments in the field of architecture, art and engineering, as well as other notable areas.

Development of Leonardo da Vinci’s Work

There has been a lot of criticism about Leonardo, and this is because he is famous in a unique way. According to him, knowledge is invested in avenues, which to him were his eyes. It is through endowment and disposition that he is today famous. The benefit of sight according to Leonardo is that almost immediately facts are conveyed, as this sense functions best as compared to the others. The eyes are also described as being certain and correct. In his various studies, the theme of sight and how it should be was eminent and visible. This is what he referred to as saper vedere or object of knowledge (Lupia, 12).

When compared to other artists in other fields, Leonardo da Vinci is described as being a great master. Other notable famous people such as William Shakespeare and Albert Einstein cannot match up to his standards as well as expertise. He was extremely meticulous in everything, which he did. In most of master pieces, he attempted to involve and invoke science. The nature, which drove and directed him, ensured that he was boundless. Thus, he said that “Human subtlety will never devise an invention more beautiful, simpler or more direct than does nature because in her inventions nothing is lacking, and nothing is superfluous.” (Lupia, 15).The Last Supper and The Mona Lisa are two of his most key painting, which until now, receives a lot of accord as well as praise.

Most of the paintings by Leonardo were never completed and those, which were finished, were a small in number. At some point, it was claimed that Verrocchio’s work was similar to his and this made some people to criticize him. This fact made him more motivated than before and in turn, he came up with compositions that are atmospheric and evocative. Composition of a new form was used by him in coming up with the Adoration of the Maqi. One easily notices in the fore ground, grouping of main figures takes place. Battle scenes and imagery ruins are extremely evident in the form of distant views at the background.

Analysis of principles and elements present in Leonardo da Vinci’s The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper

The Last Supper evidently has apparent stylistic innovations, as compared to the rest of his paintings. It was on a wall in a chapel whereby, Leonardo was to paint the Last Supper after being commissioned to do so. During that time, painting was mainly through the use of fresco, but he chose to use tempura. He made sure that each of the apostle’s facial expressions was witnessed. He used an approach, which is new whereby; a traditional theme was recreated in the painting. The individual apostles were not made to look as twelve apostles, who were different from each other. Leonardo ensured that they appeared in three, as part of a compositional unit, which is dynamic, and this is how the grouped the twelve apostles. The paintings center focuses on making Christ the key figure by framing it to be different from the others. When one focuses on the wall, they see an opening, which is rectangular and is visible in the distant landscape, though is it pale. According to historians of the Last Supper, the betrayal of Christ was going to be announced .The betrayal would be by one of the apostles present during that occasion.

The use of a new from vanishing point was evident whereby; the different places in the picture were converging in different lines. The purpose was to ensure that Christ became the central and vital point of the painting. Those who view this painting find themselves gazing at Christ using their right eye due to the converging lines. Furthermore, in the Last Supper, tools such as measurement and angles were incorporated. Also, Leonardo used the perspective whereby, planes, which are two dimensional and images that, are three dimensional were noticeable. Currently, the painting can be viewed at the Santa Maria delle Grazie Convent (Kemp, 58).

The Mona Lisa painting is another great work by Leonardo da Vinci. The woman in the painting is seated and she is known as Lisa Del Giocondo. She was married to a Florentine Merchant, who had extreme wealth. Till to date, no one can explain the smile of the woman in the painting by Leonardo. According to some people, the secret of the painting is the woman’s smile. The compositions monumentality, as well as the expression of the subject, is the reason for the ambiguity. Other elements include; atmospheric illusionism and modeling forms, which are subtle. These are the other reasons why the painting is famous, as well as fascinating to many lovers of art. The woman’s eyes seem to follow someone and are described as being alive. The pyramid design was used by him, in order to ensure that the focus is only on the woman. The areas where the pyramids are include the corner formed as a result of her arms being folded. The seated Madonna is a principle, which Leonardo makes use of. It represents the female figure, as she is seated in form of a formula that is basic. Distance as an impression was created by him by ensuring that he modified the existing formula. The element of division is also present witnessed from the chair and its armrest. The sfumato technique has been used, in order to show the parts whereby, shapes are coming into contact with each other. Critics are not pleased with the effects of this technique in the painting. Lastly, there is harmony between the landscape and the woman thus, the reason why the painting is attractive (Owen, 1).


In conclusion, Leonardo da Vinci has made great contributions to art in many ways. His works are known by almost every human being particularly The Last Supper and The Mona Lisa. He has influenced many artists who have chosen to follow the same path as his. In deed he is an artist who should be emulated.

Work Cited

From a Book

Clark, Kenneth. Leonardo da Vinci. Rev. Ed. New York: Viking, 1988. Print.

Kemp, Martin. Leonardo da Vinci, the Marvelous Works of Nature and Man. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1981.Print.

Turner, Richard. Inventing Leonardo. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1993.Print.

Capra, Fritjof. The Science of Leonardo; Inside the Mind of the Genius of the Renaissance. New York, Doubleday, 2007.Print.

From a Journal

Lupia, John. The Secret Revealed: How to Look at Italian Renaissance Painting. Medieval and Renaissance Times 1. 2 (summer, 1994). 6–17.

From Websites


Owen, Richard. HYPERLINK “http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article411195.ece” “Found: the studio where Leonardo met Mona Lisa”. London: The Times. 1 May.2005.Web. 24 October 2011. < HYPERLINK “http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article411195.ece.%3e” http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/world/article411195.ece.>

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