Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci was a pioneer of his time. He was known to be a polymath who was able to turn his hand to many different interests. He lived in Italy during the early stages of the Renaissance and many scholars as well as historians regard Da Vinci as an example of a ‘Renaissance Man’.
Leonardo was born April 15th, 1452 in the town of Vinci, Italy. Not much is known about his childhood and this has been the subject of much investigation. It is believed that he had an informal education where he received instruction in the following subjects:
When he reached 14 years of age, he was apprenticed to Andrea di Cione who is more commonly known as Verrocchio. Under the instruction of Verrocchio, Da Vinci learned the arts of paint and sculpting. Subjects he learned in Verrocchio’s workshop included:
- Metal work
- Plaster casting
- Leather work
These first lessons allowed him to be able to turn his hand to many different subjects.
Da Vinci was not just a painter and a sculpture but also he became known for his inventions that did not always work. His famous works include:
- Mona Lisa
- Invention of flying machines
- Designed the dome for Milan Cathedral
- The Last Supper
- Vitruvian Man
- Lady with an Ermine
In addition to works of art, Leonardo Da Vinci was also known for drawing plans for siege engines that would have been useful to his patron, Ludovico Sforza, the Duke of Milan. Italy during the time of Leonardo Da Vinci was a period of conflict between the warring states of Italy and these inventions were designed for both defence and offence.
Leonardo Da Vinci kept journals, many of which survive today. In these journals there are sketches and observations of anatomy. Sketches of human and animal anatomy suggests that he may have been involved in the dissection of animals and humans. His flying machines were based on images of flying creatures and a sycamore seed.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a man who was a pioneer of his time. As a polymath he was able to paint, draw, and invent anything that he turned his mind to. As a scholar he was able to use his observations of the natural world in order to bring his creations to life.