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The Life of Leonardo da VinciThere are many different Renaissance painters to consider when thinking of this period in history, but none are as interesting and unusual as Leonardo da Vinci. An accomplished painter, da Vinci was also a talented scientist and inventor, vegetarian and even, it is said, the leader of a secret society. But which of the events of his life are true and which are exaggerations or even lies? It's hard to tell truth from fiction, but there are some facts that are undisputed.
Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15, 1452 in Tuscany, Italy. His first job, in 1466, was as a studio boy, or garzone, to the leading painter in Florentine, Andrea Del Verrocchio. It took until 1478 for da Vinci to be seen as more than an apprentice, as that is when he was designated an independent master. His family life is a bit more difficult to figure out. It?s said that he was the son of a Florentine Notary or Craftsman named Piero, but his mother may have been a slave. At any rate, Leonardo did not grow up with his mother, who was married off to another man, so he lived with just his father Piero da Vinci.
One of the undisputed facts about Leonardo da Vinci is his first known work. It is dated 1473, and it is a pen and ink drawing of the Arno Valley. His first solo painting, completed in 1478, was ?Madonna and Child?. Twenty years and many works later, in 1498, da Vinci completed what some feel is his greatest masterpiece, ?The Last Supper?. An interesting note about this painting is that there are no meat products painted on the table for this feast (although Jesus and the Apostles probably did eat meat). Leonardo was a fervent vegetarian, and he did not believe in the killing of animals to feed humans. Therefore, he did not depict meat-eating in his paintings.
Of course, when people consider Leonardo da Vinci, the painting that comes to mind above all others is the "Mona Lisa". Completed in 1506 (with sporadic touch-ups completed after that date), this painting was one of the first works of art to become famous for being famous. It was well-known even during the artist's life, and people flocked to see the painting that so much was written and talked about. Only a relatively short 13 years passed after its completion before Leonardo da Vinci died in 1519.
With his passing, however, a new understanding developed regarding this amazing man. Leonardo has always been known as an inventor of talent. He often swindled various Italian leaders with amazing sketches of war machines such as tanks, machine guns of a sort. In one case, he even offered to divert an entire river to defeat an enemy.
What was not known about da Vinci, however, was that he was so amazingly prolific when it came to ideas. For instance, few people are aware that da Vinci thought up the first human robot and was able to make it work through a series of pulleys. Words can really do no justice to this man's accomplishments.
Notwithstanding the hubbub about the Da Vinci Code book and movie, the man was undeniably one of our greatest thinkers and well ahead of his time by hundreds of years.
article written by Richard MonkAbout the author:
Richard Monk is with FactsMonk.com - a site with facts about everything.
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