Leonardo Da Vinci
Leonardo Da Vinci practiced 14 sciences. He used to sleep 2 hours every day, separated in quarters of an hour. A left-handed dyslexic, he tried to paint with both of his hands. He was a loner, but also adopted a child which he raised with extra care. He was weird, and used to destroy most of his work.
According to his grandfather, Leonardo Da Vinci was born on the 15th of April 1452 at 3:00 a.m. in Florence. He was the illegitimate son of Sir Piero Da Vinci. He spent most of his life studying, and supported the model of Homo Universalis (catholic man). He was a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a mathematician, a mechanic, an astronomer, an anatomist, physiologist, botanologist, geologist, physician, a philosopher, a musician and a writer. He was also occupied with medicine, forensic sciences, ballistics and hydraulics.
We can divide his life into 4 main periods: The Florentine Period (1452-1481), The Lombardic Period (1482-1499), The Roaming Period (1500-1516) during which he travels all the time at Venice, Florence, Romance, Milan, Rome and Mantova, and finally the French Period (1516-1519).
THE FLORENTINE PERIOD
His art career started in 1469 when Da Vinci became Andrea Del Verrocchio’s student. Verrocchio was one of the greater magicians and artists of the time; he was also classmates with Sandro Botticelli, Lorenzo Di Credi and Piedro Peruzino. At 1472, Da Vinci’s name entered the Red Book of Florentine Painters and at 1478 was given to him a task for Palazzo Vecio. We can see Leonardo’s huge talent in the painting of an angel at Verrocchio’s Baptism of Christ. According to tradition Verrocchio was so amazed and so jealous of the extraordinary beauty of Leonardo’s painting that he decided to give up, and became exclusively occupied with the art of Sculpture. Leonardo’s art works that belong to this period is Annunciation where he uses for the first time his famous atmospheric prospect. The last and maybe the most important work of the Florence Period is The Adoration of the Magi, which, however, was left uncompleted.
THE LOMBARDIC PERIOD
The second and very important for his activity period started in 1482, when Leonardo went to Milan to work for Duke Ludovico Sforza. He stayed there for 17 years until the Duke lost his power. While staying there, he got involved with numerous studies such as hydraulics, ballistic weapons design and geologic research. He also produced a number of papers in geometry, anatomy, botanology, architecture, municipal construction, and canals. At the same time, he put together all the court festivals, including the wedding direction of Gianni Galeazo Sforza with Isabella D’Aragon. Leonardo’s work which applied to this period are The Virgin On The Rocks, The Last Supper, and others.
THE ROAMING PERIOD
Duke Ludovico Sforza stepped down in 1499. This forced Leonardo to start to travel excessively. In 1500 he could be found at Isabella D’ Este’s Court, trying to create her portrait. From there, he travelled to Venice then to Florence in 1501 to work at Filipino Lipi’s place. He also spent a couple of years (1502-1503) working as a military engineer for Cesar Borgia. From 1503 to 1506 he stayed in Florence where he painted the Battle of Anghiari. This work is also unfinished, but we have many studies and plans of it. It is more about a battle of horses than a battle of people. During the same period he creates the famous Mona Lisa. He continued travelling around Italy, working for several employers (for example, he worked for Louis IB’ as a “permanent painter and engineer”), dealing with several projects such as hydraulic works. During that period Leonardo also gathered the first papers that later composed the Arundel Code. He was also occupied with geometry and geology and wrote most of Code G. He finally reached Rome in 1513, where he undertook a variety of projects for the Pope.
THE FRENCH PERIOD
In 1516, Leonardo reached France and stayed there until his death on the 2nd of May, 1519. Although his right hand was paralyzed, he painted Saint John the Baptist, Bacchus, and The Virgin and Child with St. Anne. He was also devoted to maths and hydraulics. Leonardo knew the exact date of his death. After he died, his work passed onto Frantzesco Meltsi ‘s hands (Meltsi was one of his students). Leonardo’s grave was ruined during the French Revolution, his manuscripts were dispersed and were gathered later by the sculptor, painter and collector, Pompeo Leoni (who was also Michaelangelo’s student).
Leonardo Da Vinci’s most important anthologies can be found at the Library of Windsor and the Amprosiana of Milan. The second one’s is the Anlanticus Code, about painting studies and notes as well as geometric-mechanic plans. The most amazing thing about Leonardo’s writing is its great variety, its complexity and its random classification.