Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452 ¡V May 2, 1519) was famous for drawing.He was a talented Italian Renaissance Roman Catholic polymath: architect, anatomist, sculptor, engineer, inventor, geometer, scientist, mathematician, musician, and painter. He has been described as the archetype of the "Renaissance man", a man infinitely curious and equally inventive. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and a universal genius. Leonardo was born in the village of Anchiano, a few miles from the small town of Vinci, in Tuscany, near Florence. He was the son of a wealthy Florentine notary and a peasant woman. In the mid-1460s the family settled in Florence, where Leonardo was given the best education that Florence, a major intellectual and artistic centre of Italy, could offer. He rapidly advanced socially and intellectually. He was handsome, persuasive in conversation, and a fine musician and improviser. About 1466 he was apprenticed as a garzone (studio boy) to Andrea del Verrocchio, the leading Florentine painter and sculptor of his day. In Verrocchio's workshop Leonardo was introduced to many activities, from the painting of altarpieces and panel pictures to the creation of large sculptural projects in marble and bronze. In 1472 he was entered in the painter's guild of Florence, and in 1476 he was still considered Verrocchio's assistant. In Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ, in 1470, the kneeling angel at the left of the painting is by Leonardo. In 1478 Leonardo became an independent master at the age of 26. His first commission, to paint an altarpiece for the chapel of the Palazzo Vecchio, the Florentine town hall, was never started. His first large painting, The Adoration of the Magi, which he started in 1481 and was never completed, was ordered for the Monastery of San Donato a Scopeto, Florence.
The Baptism of Christ - One of Leonardo's first public works was to create an angel (lower-left) and part of the landscape in this 1472 Verrocchio paintingThe first known biography of Leonardo was published in 1550 by Giorgio Vasari who wrote Vite de' più eccelenti architettori, pittori e scultori italiani ("The lives of the most excellent Italian architects, painters and sculptors"), and later became an independent painter in Florence. Most of the information collected by Vasari was from firsthand accounts of Leonardo's contemporaries (Vasari was only a child when Leonardo died), and it remains the first reference in studying Leonardo's life.
According to Vasari:
[T]he greatest of all Andrea's pupils was Leonardo da Vinci, in whom, besides a beauty of person never sufficiently admired and a wonderful grace in all his actions, there was such a power of intellect that whatever he turned his mind to he made himself master of with ease. I
Mona Lisa (1503¡V1507)
The Last Supper (1498), painted in Milan