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Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most famous Italian painters of the XV-XVI centuries. He was born on April 15, 1452 and died on May, 2, 1519. He belongs to the Renaissance period in art and is well-known not only as a painter. He worked in many other fields such as science, literature, music, architecture, mathematics, engineering, geology, anatomy, and cartography. He could be really called genius. According to the research, Leonardo da Vinci was often called as the Renaissance Man. He lived in the era of Renaissance when Fine Arts have been developed and emerged in peoples life. In his book “Living with Art” (165), Mark Getlein underlined that Leonardo da Vinci had extraordinary talents. He may be considered the most talented person the world has ever known.

Leonardo da Vinci: Biographical Review

Leonardo da Vinci was born in Vinci, near Florence. His mother was a peasant woman, and his father was a lawyer. Unfortunately, little is known about the early years of his life. He had received simple education in geometry, mathematics, and Latin. Some historians argue that despite the fact that he was an illegitimate son, Da Vinci was treated as legitimate by his father who gave him a good education in accordance with that time. He started painting at the early age of 14. His skills in the fine arts impressed greatly professionals of that period. So, at the age of 15, he was sent to work in the workshop of the Florence painter Andrea del Verrocchio who was told to throw away his paint brushes when saw Leonardo’s  marvelous angel in the painting that later would be known as “The Baptism of Christ”. Later, Leonardo began to work independently in Florence until 1481, and in 1482, he moved to Milan searching for new horizons and opportunities. In Milan, he had got the title of “painter and engineer of the duke.” The research reported that Leonardo da Vinci stayed in Milan for 17 years and was working as a painter, architect, military engineer, and sculptor. He left the city when the French came there.   This was his first Milanese period during which some of his famous paintings such as: “The Virgin of the Rocks” (1483-1486) and “The Last Supper” (1495-1498) were completed. According to the research, there were supposed to be at least four more paintings which did not survive. For example, there were paintings on the walls of the cathedrals that have been collapsed.

Leonardo da Vinci led a life which can seem to be unordinary to most people. There is no doubt that he was an extraordinary and brilliant person with great talents and abilities. He implemented all his talents into life, what makes him to be the Renaissance Man. During the last years of his life, Leonardo was working as a chief painter, architect, and engineer to France's King Francis I.

Life and Work

According to the historical information, Leonardo da Vinci started to paint his most famous work “The Last Supper” at the age of 42. It was ordered by the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan. He was working on this masterpiece for three years using a new technique in painting, i.e. painting on dry plaster. It was a 30 foot long mural; however, his experiment on dry plaster was not successful, because it became a mass and has required a constant restoration. In 1503, he began his work on another famous masterpiece “Mona Lisa” which has been loved by people for centuries. During that period, he painted another two women’s portraits – "Cecilia Gallarani" (1485) and "Ginevra de' Bonci" (1474). According to the research, it is worth mentioning that Leonardo da Vinci was creating his masterpieces under the influence of the High Renaissance period that gave birth to the prosperity of fine arts, music, literature, engineering, and science. Such famous contemporaries as Michelangelo, Raphael, Tintoretto, Veronese, and Titian were using the same techniques in their paintings (sfumato) as Leonardo da Vinci. Historians and professionals of different times stated that there was no more genius painter in the world than Leonardo da Vinci. No artist deserved the title “genius” more than Leonardo. Another masterpiece that is known worldwide is "Virgin of the Rocks" dated back to 1508, where forms and colors were melting into each other. His special techniques in painting made his masterpieces unique and genius. Unfortunately, only few of them survived in the original forms, while others are known by copies. Hundreds years have passed since Leonardo da Vinci’s life and work, but the history has never known an artist who could overcome his talent.

The Scope and Depths of Interests

The scope and depths of Leonardo’s interests were wide and rich. According to the research, Leonardo da Vinci was a man of mystery (Danko 48). A lot of his contemporaries were surprised by his mental abilities and that is why considered him superhuman and mysterious. In fact, there was much speculation about his personality, especially for that time when society, science, and technology were not developed like today. It is a common sense that people always tend to make speculation about the facts or people that are unfamiliar to them. So, most people do not possess such rare abilities like Leonardo da Vinci. Though, it is worth mentioning that his vision of the world was logical, and there was no mystery, just the ability of his mind to employ the empirical methods made him remote. He differed greatly from the others, and that is why he seemed to be mysterious.

Undoubtedly, Leonardo da Vinci was one of the most brilliant persons in history due to his extraordinary abilities and talents in arts and sciences. He was smart and competent in various fields of mind because of his curiosity and state of mind. There is no doubt that a combination of his mental abilities and his personal vision of things in the world made him so different from the other people. Being the Renaissance man, he was a reflection of that period when the public interest to the fine arts, literature, music, and sciences was of the greatest concern of the people. He was a man of his time who was born with that special curiosity which made him genius. Leonardo, unlike other people, was concentrated on different sciences opening new abilities in his personality. This constant work of his mind opened new horizons. Many people remain jealous, mainly those who cannot understand his personality. Leonardo’s vast array of knowledge is surprising. Everybody gets impressed, when learning about his personality, because he was exceedingly good in everything he paid attention to. More surprising is the fact that whatever he has done, he made it perfect. Of course, many people may think that it is abnormal to be so brilliant in different spheres of knowledge and sciences, because most of them cannot be perfect just in one. Especially in our postmodern time, when people’s interests are narrowed, it seems to be fantastic for a person to be so perfect. That is why Leonardo da Vinci’s phenomenon has been overviewed by scholars for many years. This occurred mainly because of his brilliant paintings. It is impossible for most people to become half as competent as Leonardo da Vinci was.

Thus, investigating Leonardo da Vinci’s personality, talents, and his brilliant mind, one should ask himself whether it is possible to be like him. Assimilating his character traits into others, people may become better, change their way of life and state of mind. The research reported that, in fact, people’s mental abilities are very high, but the problem is that most individuals do not want or simply do not know how to develop these abilities (Getlein 521). It is obvious that Leonardo da Vinci knew this secret. He was a man of Renaissance that helped him and gave direction to become the person he was. He made his personal research in his own abilities and tried not to complicate the reality. He was looking at the world as a place with thousands abilities that could be properly used in case one knows how to do this. Leonardo entered a mental progression from his childhood. Actually, his early progress and success in painting opened him a new field to mastery. After that, he focused his curiosity on many things like literature, music, architecture, geology and others. Thus, he always was giving his mind to expand. That really made him brilliant.

Conclusion

Thus, according to the research, it has become absolutely obvious that Leonardo da Vinci was the Renaissance man. He was one of the most genius men the world has ever known. Though many people are arguing about his personality considering his extraordinary abilities as a mystery, most of them agree that he was a self-made person. Leonardo was expanding his mind during the whole period of his life. He was a brilliant painter, musician, engineer, architect, and a man of his time. The phenomenon of Leonardo da Vinci has been capturing historians’ and scholars’ attention for centuries, and still people’s interest to his personality is very high. 

Artist Research Project Renaissance Humanism
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