Buon Compleanno, Leonardo!

15 Apr

On April 15, 1452, Leonardo da Vinci was born in a small Tuscan village called Anchiano. He was a true polymath, a person whose expertise spanned a significant number of subject areas. Today, we celebrate this genius’ life as a painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, musician, inventor, mathematician, anatomist, botanist, geologist, cartographer and writer.

Presumed Self Portrait

Presumed Self Portrait

Da Vinci was the illegitimate child of Caterina, a domestic servant, and Sir Piero da Vinci, owner of the house where da Vinci was born. Today, the house is a museum where visitors are welcomed by da Vinci himself, well almost, as his life-sized hologram greets visitors and shares information about his life. In nearby Vinci, one can visit the www.museoleonardiano.it, which, according it its website, “is one of the most extensive and most original collections, providing critical knowledge of Leonardo in his historical context and in that of late Middle Ages and Renaissance.”

Among Da Vinci’s most famous works is the Vitruvian Man.

Luc Viatour / www.Lucnix.be

Luc Viatour / http://www.Lucnix.be

This drawing, combining art and science, depicts a man in two superimposed positions. The picture represents da Vinci’s attempt to relate man to nature as he believed the human body was analogous to the workings of the universe. The drawing also contains notes based on the work of the architect Vitruvius. The original is kept in Venice in the Gallerie dell’ Accademia and made available to the public occasionally.

Another intriguing work of da Vinci is the Mona Lisa. On display at the Louvre in Paris, this painting is considered one of the most famous in the world.



In 1503, Francesco del Giocondo commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint a portrait of his wife, Lisa, age 24. It is believed it took him about four years to complete due to other projects. Da Vinci, however, feeling the painting was unfinished, never delivered it to Francesco nor did he get paid for his work; it is undated and unsigned.

Another iconic painting of da Vinci’s is The Last Supper, in the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper

While many of Da Vinci’s works still exist, many more were lost over the years. Yet his notebooks containing sketches and scientific diagrams, as well as his thoughts on the nature of painting, provide continuing and immeasurable contributions to both art and science.

Happy Birthday #563 , Leonardo!

You graced this earth for 67 short years, but your brilliance will shine forever.



4 Responses to “Buon Compleanno, Leonardo!”

  1. Jean April 17, 2015 at 10:35 PM #

    Ah, Judy, you bring back my art school days. I’m putting together my sketchbook pens and brushes and heading toward the Cortona countryside this year. A few visits to museums first of course as long as I don’t let all that Renaissance talent discourage me.
    Did you see this news story?


  2. Debra Kolkka April 19, 2015 at 12:08 AM #

    We went to visit Vinci the other day. The man left an amazing legacy.


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