This artist is my personal favorite European artist of all time:
LEONARDO DA VINCI (1452-1519)
Born: Leonardo di Ser Piero da Vinci on April 15, 1452 in Vinci (present-day Florence), Italy
Died: May 12, 1519 [age 67] in Amboise, Touraine (present-day Indre-et-Loire, France)
Most Notable Works: Mona Lisa, The Last Supper, Madonna of the Rocks and The Virtuvian Man
Da Vinci was an Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, scientist, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist and writer.
Born the illegitimate son of a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, Leonardo was educated in the studio of renowned Florentine painter, Verrocchio. Much of his earlier working life was spent in the service of Ludovico il Moro in Milan. He later worked in Rome, Bologna and Venice and spent his last years in France in the home given to him by Francis I.
Leonardo was and is renowned as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper is the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo’s Creation of Adam. Leonardo’s drawing of the Virtuvian Man is regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on everything from the Euro to textbooks to T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his painting survive, the small number due to his constant and frequently disastrous experimentation with new techniques and his procrastination. However, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams and his thoughts on the nature of painting, create a contribution to future generations of artists that is only rivaled by Michelangelo.
Leonardo Da Vinci is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualized the first helicopter, a tank, concentrated solar power, a calculator, a double hull, a cryptex and outlined a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Very few of his designs were ever constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions such as the automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of a wire, entered the manufacturing world unheralded by anyone else. He also made many important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics and hydrodynamics, but his failure to publish his findings and ideas meant that he had no influence on the future course of science.