Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci: A man whose name will forever be associated with art. Born on April 15th, 1452, da Vinci’s life was spent creating various works of art that are now today considered priceless. With creations such as “The Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” da Vinci unknowingly etched his name into history books and art books alike for generations to follow. His spectacular eye for the arts, which allowed him to create his masterpieces, has made his name famous forever.
Today, the world knows Leonardo da Vinci as one of the greatest, if not the greatest, painters that has ever walked the earth. However, there is much more to the man behind the paintbrush then people might think. As well as a painter, the Italian was a scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, sculptor, architect, botanist, musician and writer. From a young age, da Vinci was exposed to art. Da Vinci was educated early on in the studio of the renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. With a majority of his early work created in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan, he later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice. Da Vinci spent the final years of his life in France at his home given to him by King Francois I. Nicknamed “Renaissance Man” by “Leonardo Da Vinci – The Complete Works”, da Vinci, whose astounding curiosity in which was only matched by his impeccable creativity, is one of the greatest painters of all time.
Starting with “The Mona Lisa”, painted by da Vinci dating from 1503-1506, this piece, which is an oil painting on cottonwood, is one of the most well known paintings in existence. Ironic enough, the Mona Lisa is one of the most well known paintings in the world and today it is still unknown who the woman in the painting is. Who is Mona Lisa? According to “History Lists” who displays the traditional and most believed theory that the woman in the painting is the wife of Florentine citizen Francesco del Gioncondo. The elegant smile on Mona Lisa’s face remains up for speculation as well. However, it is and most likely will remain entirely unknown who the woman in da Vinci’s painting truly is. Strangely enough, the Mona Lisa was actually viewed as just another painting by an artist who is now dead for the longest time. That all changed in 1911. Italian handyman Vincenzo Peruggia stole the Mona Lisa from Louvre in 1911. At that point, Peruggia could have never guessed that her absence would be the thing that would make her the most recognizable and famous painting in the world. After she was stolen, images of the artwork spread throughout the world and were pasted across the covers of international newspapers. In December 1913, after a two-year police hunt, Peruggia was finally brought to justice and the Mona Lisa was recovered and brought home where now, according to Sheena McKenzie of USA Today, she attracts millions of visitors. “Today, she is the jewel in Louvre’s crown, helping attract over 9.7 million visitors to the Paris museum later that year” (McKenzie). “The Mona Lisa”, which was originally just another artwork in the world, has now become the worlds most well known pieces of art thanks to Mr. Peruggia.
Furthermore, “The Last Supper” by da Vinci is another one of his pieces of work, which is known today throughout the world. The tempera on gesso, pitch and mastic painting, which was created dating from 1495-1497, depicts Jesus Christ explaining to his twelve disciples that one of them would soon betray him. That man was Judas Iscariot. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times reports that The Last Supper was the first well-known painting generated by Leonardo da Vinci and that it was the first work of art he created that lived up to his hype. “By the age of 42 (in an era in which life expectancy was 40), Leonardo da Vinci had yet to create anything commensurate with his lofty ambitions… Ross King writes in his new book, “Leonardo and ‘The Last Supper”. ‘He had produced only a few scattered paintings, a bizarre-looking music instrument, some ephemeral decorations for masques and festivals and many hundreds of pages of notes and drawings for studies he had not yet published, or for inventions he had not yet built”’ (Kakutani). Up until the creation of The Last Supper, which very well could have slingshot his career into motion with the creation of the Mona Lisa after The Last Supper, da Vinci just had several paintings that had no significance to them at all. The creation of The Last Supper catapulted his artist career into motion. Thanks to The Last Supper’s creation, Leonardo da Vinci became the artist that we now know today. Da Vinci will forever have a very sacred place in the art community as well as a very permanent place in global history books.
Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world’s most famous artists and his pieces of work will forever be remembered and looked back on by generations to come. His infinite amount of creativity backed up by his astounding skill with a paintbrush has put him in a class of his own regarding art. His pieces “The Mona Lisa” and “The Last Supper” which are profoundly well known throughout the world are simply eye-opening pieces of work as well as other pieces created by da Vinci such as “Vitruvian Man” which is simply just a doodle of a man, his wingspan, and a perfect circle drawn around him, just add to the rich heritage that follows the name Leonardo da Vinci. Personally, my favorite piece of da Vinci’s work is The Last Supper. Being that I am a religious person and frequently spend time learning about God and Christianity, I found The Last Supper to be a very interesting image to look at. When you view the picture, and you realize what is going on, that Jesus has just explained to his twelve disciples that one of them will soon betray him, you get to see the different reactions from each disciple. Some look at others in disgust, some work with others to try to figure out which one will be the one to commit the evil act and some just flat out have no reaction whatsoever. To me, The Last Supper painting really comes alive, and when I view it, my mind begins to run wild with theories about what each individual disciple has on their mind after learning the horrible news that one of them will soon betray Jesus Christ. Ever since I was in Sunday school as a young child, I remember repeatedly listening to the story of Jesus’ crucifixion on the cross and how Judas was the man, who betrayed him by reporting him to the Romans, where they took him, mercilessly beat him and then placed him on a cross to die. Leonardo da Vinci is one of the world’s greatest artists have ever lived and his name and world will be remembered and taught to younger generations forever.
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