16 Avril 2013
April 15, 1452: Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci!
Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the town of Vinci, then controlled by the Republic of Florence. Little is known about his early life, though it is suspected he received some schooling in Latin, geometry, and mathematics. At the age of fourteen, he was apprenticed to the famed Florentine artist Verrocchio, where he learned drawing, painting, sculpting and modeling. After studying under Verrochio for six years, Leonardo qualified as a master in the Guild of St. Luke, and began his own professional life.
While much of his life is conjecture, Leonardo did earn wide repute as an artist, architect, scientist and thinker. From 1482 to 1499, he lived in Milan, where he was commissioned to paint two of his most famous works: the Virgin on the Rocks, and the Last Supper. After leaving Milan, he lived for several years in Florence and Rome, developing a longstanding rivalry with fellow Italian master Michelangelo, whom some art scholars label his only superior. It was during this time that he painted the Mona Lisa, whom many call the most famous and recognizable painting of all time. When King Francis I of France took Milan, Leonardo entered the service of the King and moved to France. He worked until his death at the Clos Lucé, Amboise, France, on May 2, 1519.
Leonardo da Vinci is remembered for his countless paintings, drawings, sculptures, maps, architectural designs, scientific journals, anatomical notes, and engineering innovations. His manuscripts show outlines for a tank, a helicopter, a calculator, and several other inventions that simply were not possible in the Renaissance period. His legacy is one of both technical and artistic genius, one that redefined both fields during his lifetime and became the standard for the Western trope, the “Renaissance man.”