Leonardo Da Vinci-an Italian polymath
Leonardo da Vinci, the Renaissance painter, was an inventor, military engineer, sculptor, architect, draftsman, and the epitome of a true Renaissance man.
He was born in the village of Anchiano in Tuscany, Italy, on April 15, 1452. His father, SerPiero, was a man held in high reputation. Leonardo Da Vinci was an unintended birth.
At 14, he apprenticed for an artist in Florence. Leonardo trained in painting & sculpture and worked in one of the most renowned workshops in the city. Da Vinci enjoyed his time there and would not strike out on his own until he was in his mid-20s.
Da Vinci kept a notebook with him, filled with detailed notes and sketches that showed his overwhelming fascination with the natural world. In search of work, he left Florence and moved to Milan. He sent a letter to the Duke of Milan listing his numerous capabilities and services as a military engineer and architect and casually mentioning his skills as a painter at the end of the letter. The Duke of Milan employed him, where he was kept busy with numerous projects. He was consulted on matters of military, architecture, and engineering. He only completed six paintings in the 17 years he spent in Milan, yet these paintings were vast and ambitious.
One painting the Duke commissioned was for Da Vinci to create a mural at the end wall in the cafeteria of the monastery of Santa Maria del Grazia. In the following four years, one of the most important pieces of art in the history of mankind was completed, "The Last Supper." In the painting, Da Vinci places the Disciples with precision portraying them frozen in the exact moment after Jesus tells them that someone will betray him. Da Vinci believed that a painting job was to depict the intentions of the soul. It followed the world's most famous artwork, the Mona Lisa, which cemented Da Vinci's status as the greatest painter to have ever lived.
Other works like Vitruvian Man, Salvator Mundi, The Baptism of Christ, Madonna of the Carnation, Ginevra de Benci, Benois Madonna, Adoration of the Magi, and St. Jerome in the Wilderness are some of his notable works. Leonardo made less than 20 surviving paintings; several are unfinished, like the Battle of Anghiari and the Leda.
At 65 years old, Leonardo spent the last year of his life as the beloved first painter, architect & engineer to the king of France. Da Vinci was a man driven by curiosity and fuelled by his intellect, and endless experiments and many passions defined him as the quintessential Renaissance man from his notes. Leonardo died on May 2, 1519, at the age of 67.