Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci was born in 1452 on his father’s estate in Vinci, Italy. He received his education on the estate until the age of fifteen. Which is when his father had noticed Leonardo’s potential and had decided to send him to be an apprentice to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence. There he studied sculpture and the mechanical arts. This was also when he first developed an interest in anatomy. In 1472 Leonardo was accepted into the painters' guild at Florence, where he remained for the next ten years. In 1482, Leonardo was hired by the duke of Milan, Ludovico Sforza, to be artist and engineer in residence. During his stay in Milan, he started to compose a unified theory of the world and to illustrate it in a series of voluminous notebooks. Unfortunately due to his pursuit of scientific knowledge he had to leave many of his artistic creations unfinished. He stayed in Milan for seventeen years. There he completed six paintings: two portraits of the 'Last Supper', two versions of 'The Virgin of the Rocks', and a decorative ceiling painting in the Castello Sforzesco. Other paintings were either unfinished or have disappeared. In the early 1500’s, Leonardo returned to his home city. In Florence, he was commissioned to do a number of paintings, but other interests and tasks kept him from finishing them. The most well known piece to survive from this time period was the famous Mona Lisa, which is now in the Louvre in Paris. For ten months during 1502, Leonardo served as military adviser and engineer. During the years 1513 to 1516, Leonardo was in Rome at the invitation of Cardinal Giuliano de' Medici, brother of Pope Leo X. Some of the greatest artists of the time were at work in Rome for the church. In May 1506 Charles d'Amboise, governor of Milan for the king of France, invited Leonardo to return to that city. His work in painting and sculpture over the next seven years remained mostly in the planning stage--in sketches that he drew but that never became paintings or statues--but his scientific work flourished. He continued his notebooks with observations and drawings of human anatomy, optics, mechanics, and botanical studies. He also did some sketches for a Medici residence in Florence that was never built. Otherwise he was lonely and unoccupied. Thus in 1516, at the age of 65, he accepted an invitation from Francis I, king of France, to leave Italy and work for him. Leonardo spent the last three years of his life in the palace of Cloux, near the king's residence at Amboise, near Tours. He was given the title of first painter, architect, and mechanic of the King and given freedom of action in what he wanted to do.
Although there are many great works of Leonardo Da Vinci that I could have chosen, I am going to choose the most obvious, the Mona Lisa. I chose this piece because the impact it had on the world. No matter where you go in the world, everyone knows of the Mona Lisa. The picture is on stamps; shirts; posters; cup; and just about anything else you can think of. It one of the most well renowned paintings in the world. Another reason I chose this piece is because of the mystery of the painting. To this day no one knows whether the woman in the painting was a real person, or whether is was Leonardo’s vision of himself as a women. Another fact which makes it even more peculiar is that Leonardo always kept a log of the models which he had used, yet there is no record of who modeled for the Mona Lisa.
Leonardo Da Vinci had a very strong influence over the world, artistically as well as scientifically. Leonardo devised plans for prototypes of an airplane and a helicopter. His extensive studies of human anatomy were portrayed in anatomical drawings, were among the most significant achievements of Renaissance Science. His remarkable illustrations of the human body elevated drawing into a means of scientific investigation and exposition and provided the basic principles for modern scientific illustration. He continued his notebooks with observations and drawings of human