Someone who has fascinated me over the years is Leonardo Da Vinci, a forward thinker, artist and sculpter who was born and raised near Tuscany, Italy. He was born in 1452 to a peasant mother and attorney father and he grew up on his father’s estate. His learning never went beyond the basics of math, reading and writing, but he was very advanced artistically, so his father apprenticed him to a famous sculpter and painter named Andrea del Verrochio.
Da Vinci is most known for two of his paintings, the Mona Lisa, and the Last Supper, which was the only fresco that he did that survived all of the wars and revolutions in Europe over the centuries. The Last Supper was painted from 1495-1498 and measured 15 feet by 29 feet, and because of it’s composition featuring Jesus centered and yet isolated from his disciples, it has influenced painters for many generations. The Mona Lisa was painted from 1503-1506, and the model was believed to be a courtesan, but recently it’s been thought that she was the wife of a Venetian merchant.
He filled notebooks upon notebooks with his observations on nature, human anatomy, architecture, and mechanics. His interests ranged far beyond fine art; he drew workable diagrams for machines like bicycles, helicopters, tanks and submarines. He was fascinated with human and animal anatomy and performed dissections and diagrams for both. His anatomical studies of the human skeleton, muscles, brain, and digestive and reproductive systems brought new understanding of the human body to a wider audience.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a man not understood in his lifetime but has been one of the most influential men and thinkers of our time. He was a true Renaissance Man.