Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci, most popularly known as Leonardo da Vinci, was an Italian Renaissance polymath. He was a painter as well as a sculptor, engineer and many more. He was born on the 15th of April 1452, as an illegitimate son of Piero Fruosino di Antonio da Vinci, a notary, and Caterina, a peasant woman. He has no surname, ‘da Vinci’ means ‘of Vinci’, so in other terms his name means ‘Leonardo of Vinci’. In the earlier time of his life, he was educated in the studio of Verrochio, a renowned painter in Florence during that time. He then worked in service for Ludovico il Morro in Milan, and then later he spent his life in Rome, Bologna and in Venice. He spent the last years of his life in the home awarded to him by Francis I in France, teaching prospective painters.

Leornardo da Vinci is considered as one of the best portrait painters of all time due to his unique technique that makes a portrait painting look real and three dimensional. He used an innovative technique in his painting, especially portrait paintings, which other painters during his time don’t know of. One of the great things about da Vinci is his great knowledge about how humans register emotions through the face and through gestures; his in-depth understanding about anatomy and the like made it possible for him to paint precise body parts of each person in his paintings.

In the portraits that he painted, he used a technique called Sfumato, wherein the colors and edges are softened with dark glazes. It can also be called a subtle gradation of tone; it looks like the colors are fading thus, making the painting look more real. The application of the Sfumato technique was very prominent in da Vinci’s paintings; and he was the one who conceptualized the technique. Another style that he used in painting portraits is known as Chiaroscuro, which is a way of shading that uses the brightness of the color rather than color itself.

It can be observed that da Vinci always uses these techniques in his portrait painting, wherein he employs different shades of a specific color rather than using a lot of different colors. He expands the range of luminance in his portraits than using numerous hues as other artists do. Another da Vinci style is the use of Velatura technique in his portraits, where the colors or paints are mixed in a canvas rather than in a palette. This style gives a milky or foggy haze that makes what is underneath vague.

Undoubtedly, the most famous of his works is the Mona Lisa painting. It can be seen in this work of art that da Vinci used the Sfumato technique at the corner of the woman’s eyes and mouth to make it look alive and real. By this, the tones blend with one another and it eliminates sharp lines thus creating an atmospheric effect. The liveliness of the Mona Lisa painting was even more enhanced as da Vinci mixed the colors in a canvas and not in a palette.

In the later years of his life, he spent it living in Belvedere in Vatican, Rome. In 1516, he was given the permission to use of the manor house Clos Luce, which is near the King’s residence. He then spent the last three years of his life in the manor accompanied by his apprentice at the same time his friend Count Francesco Melzi and was supported by a total of 10, 000 scudi pension. Da Vinci’s life ended in the manor on May 2, 1519.

Author:   Shyxter

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