The Mona Lisa is regarded as the world’s most famous piece of artwork. Hanging safely in The Louvre, the painting is considered as the pinnacle of the skill harboured by famed artists Leonardo Da Vinci. Born in Italy during the 15th century, Da Vinci gained a reputation among the people of his time as an accomplished artist, innovative inventor, skilled sculptor, and true genius.
His legacy is one that has survived for hundreds of years, and some historians even believe that he was the most intelligent human that ever existed. He lived a fascinating existence, following countless passions, and spent most of his life learning about the world around him, as we will explore here.
Da Vinci’s Early Life
Da Vinci was born in the small village of Anchiano, which is located in the Tuscany region of Italy. His birthdate is recorded as the 15th of April 1452, and it’s believed that he was born in a farmhouse. The son of Florentine notary Ser Piero, Da Vinci’s mother was a peasant woman who went by the name Caterina, although he himself had been raised by his stepmother and father. By the time he was 5 years old, he had moved into an estate that was owned by his father in the town of Vinci, which is where the artist inherited his last name. Here he would live with his grandparents and his uncle.
The Education He Received
Leonardi didn’t receive the same amount of education as many of his peers would have, although he was taught writing, reading, and some mathematics. But it was apparent fairly early on that he was a gifted artist, and by the time he turned 14, he had begun an apprenticeship with Andrea del Verrocchio, a famed artist at the time. Under del Verrocchio, Da Vinci learnt a range of skills, including leather work, metalworking, carpentry, painting, carpentry, and more. It was also during this time that he created his first recorded work, which was a pen drawing of a landscape within the Arno Valley in 1473.
His Later Life
When Da Vincu had turned 20 years old, he was given a membership as a master artist at the Guild of Saint Luke, and it was here that he built his own workshop. Working with de Verrocchio, it’s believed that they finished the “Baptism of Christ” during the year of 1475, where Da Vinci painted much of the background, as well as the angel that held the robe of Jesus. It was also at this point where Da Vinci’s true talent began to shine, with his master humbled by the skill that he witnessed on the canvas.
When he left del Verrocchio’s apprenticeship, Da Vinci had received his first commission – one couldn’t make money by enjoying online pokies in New Zealand back then – which was for an altarpiece in the Palazzo Vecchio.
It was the beginning of a rich and varied career that would see him delve into a number of subjects, ranging from painting, sculpting, invention, and even dabbling in human anatomy with the usage of cadavers.