Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15, 1452 and died on May 2, 1519. He was a Renaissance genius who is considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time, and possibly the most talented person who ever lived.

At the young age of fourteen, Leonardo was apprenticed to the artist Andrea di Cione. He was exposed to many artistic skills including drawing, painting, sculpting, and modeling. By the age of twenty, Leonardo was qualified as a master in the guild of artists and doctors of medicine. His earliest known work is a drawing in ink of the Arno Valley, drawn on August 5, 1473. From then on, Leonardo worked in Milan, Rome, Bologna, Venice and France creating art that would create history.

In the 1480s, Leonardo created three well known pieces of art, St. Jerome in the Wilderness, the Adoration of Magi, and Virgin of the Rocks. Virgin of the Rocks is the only finished painting due to problems with completion and payment with the first two paintings.

Leonardo’s most famous painting from the 1490s is The Last Supper, painted in Milan. Unfortunately, Leonardo had used tempera as his surface, resulting in his painting flaking and molding quickly. Due to this problem, The Last Supper is one of the most reproduced works of art.

It was in the 16th century that Leonardo created his most famous work of art, the Mona Lisa. To this day, no one knows why the woman is smiling. Many tests have been done on this mysterious painting, and one exposed a faint veil over the women’s face. In Leonardo’s time, women wore veils when they were pregnant. So it is assumed that she is smiling because she is pregnant. However, it is just a guess. Leonardo’s use of subtle shadowing around her mouth and eyes makes this an impossible puzzle to solve.

Throughout his life, Leonardo created works of art that astonish and inspire any artist who set eyes on his work. I admire Leonardo’s sense of mystery, and how his paintings leave questions unanswered. He pays a great deal of attention to the details and due to his artistic talent, has created beautiful masterpieces. Leonardo da Vinci was not just an artist. He was a genius.

By: Sansara Deshpande

8th grade

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