Great Italian Renaissance painter and inventor Leonardo da Vinci was born April 15, 1452 in the small village of Anchiano (Anchiano LU), located near the town of Vinci (Vinci FI). He was the illegitimate son of wealthy notary Piero da Vinci and the beautiful village of Katarina. Soon after this event, the notary married a girl of noble birth. They had no children, and Pierrot and his wife took a three-year-old child to themselves.
The birth of the artist
The brief time of childhood in the village has passed. Notary Pierrot moved to Florence, where he gave his son as a student of Andrea del Veroccio, a famous Tuscan master. There, in addition to painting and sculpture, the future artist was given the opportunity to study the basics of mathematics and mechanics, anatomy, work with metals and gypsum, and methods of dressing leathers. The young man eagerly absorbed knowledge and later widely used it in his activities.
An interesting creative biography of the maestro belongs to the pen of his contemporary Giorgio Vasari. Vasari’s book, The Life of Leonardo, has a short story about how Andrea del Verrocchio brought a student to fulfill the Baptesimo di Cristo order.
The angel, written by Leonardo, so clearly demonstrated his superiority over the teacher that the latter, in frustration, threw away his brush and never again did painting.
The qualification of the master was assigned to him by the guild of St. Luke. Leonardo da Vinci spent the next year of his life in Florence. His first mature painting is “Adoration of the Magi” (Adorazione dei Magi), made to order for the monastery of San Donato (San Donato).
Milan period (1482 - 1499)
In Milan, Leonardo came as a messenger of peace from Lorenzo Medici to Lodovico Sforza, nicknamed Moro. Here his work received a new direction. He was enrolled in the court staff at first as an engineer and only later as an artist.
The Duke of Milan, a cruel and near man, was little interested in the creative component of Leonardo's personality. The masters of the ducal indifference worried even less. Interests converge in one. Moreau needed engineering devices for military operations and mechanical structures for the amusement of the yard. Leonardo understood this like no other. His mind did not doze, the master was sure that the possibilities of man are endless. His ideas were close to the humanists of the New Age, but in many ways incomprehensible to contemporaries.
Two important works belong to the same period - the fresco “The Last Supper” (Il Cenacolo) for the refectory monastery of Santa Maria della Grazie (Chiesa e Convento Domenicano di Santa Maria delle Grazie) and the painting “Lady with the Ermine” (Dama con l'ermellino) .
The second is a portrait of Cecilia Gallerani, the favorite of the Duke of Sforza. The biography of this woman is unusual. One of the most beautiful and learned ladies of the Renaissance, she was simple and kind, knew how to get along with people. An affair with the duke saved one of her brothers from prison. With Leonardo she was connected by the most tender relationship, but, according to contemporaries and the opinion of most researchers, their brief relationship remained platonic.
A more common (and also not confirmed) version of the intimate relationship of the master with students Francesco Melzi and Salai. The artist preferred to keep the details of his personal life in deep secret.
Moreau ordered the master a horse statue of Francesco Sforza. The necessary sketches were completed and a clay model of the future monument was made. Further work was hindered by the French invasion of Milan. The artist left for Florence. He will return here, but to another gentleman - the French king Louis XII (Louis XII).
Again in Florence (1499 - 1506)
The return to Florence was marked by the entry to the service of the Duke Cesare Borgia (Cesare Borgia) and the creation of the most famous canvas - "Gioconda" (Gioconda). The new work involved frequent trips, the master traveled through Romagna, Tuscany and Umbria with various assignments. His main mission was reconnaissance and preparation of the area for military operations on the part of Cesare, who planned to subjugate the Papal region. Cesare Borgia was considered the greatest villain of the Christian world, but Leonardo admired his perseverance and remarkable talent commander. He argued that the vices of the Duke are balanced by "equally great virtues." The ambitious plans of the great adventurer did not materialize. The master returned to Milan in 1506.
Later years (1506 - 1519 gg.)
The second Milanese period lasted until 1512. The maestro studied the structure of the human eye, worked on the monument to Giancomo Trivulzio and his own self-portrait. In 1512, the artist moved to Rome. Giovanni di Medici, son of Lorenzo the Magnificent, was elected pope, taking the rank of Leo X (Leo X). The pope’s brother, Duke Giuliano di Medici, praised the work of his compatriot. After his death, the master accepted the invitation of King Francis I (François I) and departed for France in 1516.
Francis was the most generous and grateful patron. The maestro settled in the picturesque castle of Le Clos Lucé in Touraine, where he had every opportunity to do what was interesting to him. On a royal commission, he constructed a lion from whose chest a bouquet of lilies was revealed. The French period was the happiest in his life. The king appointed his engineer an annual rent of 1,000 ecu and donated the land with vineyards, ensuring a calm old age. The life of the maestro was cut short in 1519. He bequeathed his notes, instruments and estates to his students.
- Two images of the Holy Virgin by Leonardo, Madonna Benois and Madonna Litta, painted at 10-year intervals, are in the State Hermitage Museum.
- The drawing "Vitruvian Man" (Homo vitruviano), depicting a man of "ideal proportions", is stored in the collection of the Academy Gallery (Gallerie dell'Accademia) in Venice.
- The fresco "The Last Supper" depicting the last meal of Christ, began to collapse during the life of the author. Francis I wanted to transport the wall of the monastery refectory to France to save a masterpiece.
- The Mona Lisa is Leonardo's most talked about work. The main mystery - who posed for the artist? They call Lisa del Giocondo (Lisa del Giocondo), the wife of a noble popolan, Constanta d'Avalos (Costanza d'Avalos), the mistress of Giuliano Medici ...
The most non-trivial versions say that the "Mona Lisa" is da Vinci himself or his student Salai, dressed in a women's outfit. There are many conjectures, there are even more copies of the picture, but the immortal Mona Lisa continues to conquer with her unique smile.
Inventions and works
Most of the inventions of the master were not created during his lifetime, remaining only in the records and drawings. An airplane, a bicycle, a parachute, a tank ... He had a dream about flying, the scientist believed that a person can and should fly. He studied the behavior of birds and sketched wings of various shapes. His project of a two-lens telescope is surprisingly accurate, and there is a brief entry in his diaries about the possibility of "seeing the big moon."
As a military engineer was always in demand, he invented light overhead bridges and a wheel lock for a pistol were used everywhere. He was engaged in problems of urban development and land reclamation, in 1509 he built the canal of St. Christopher, as well as the Martesana irrigation canal. The Duke of Moreau rejected his project of the "ideal city." Centuries later, London was built on this project. In Norway, there is a bridge built according to his drawing. In France, already an old man, he designed a canal between Loire and Sona.
Leonardo's diaries are written in a light, lively language and are interesting to read. His fables, parables and aphorisms speak of the versatility of a great mind.
Mystery of genius
There were plenty of secrets in the life of the Renaissance titan. The main one has opened relatively recently. But did it open? In 1950, a list of Grand Masters of the Priory of Sion (Prieuré de Sion), a secret organization created in 1090 in Jerusalem, was published. According to the list, Leonardo da Vinci was the ninth of the Grand Masters of Priory. His predecessor in this amazing post was Sandro Botticelli, and his successor was the constable Charles Charles de Bourbon. The main objective of the organization was the restoration of the Merovingian dynasty on the throne of France. Priorat considered descendants of this kind descendants of Jesus Christ.
The very existence of such an organization is doubtful by most historians. But such doubts could have been sown by members of the Priory who wished to continue their activities in secret.
If you take this version for the truth, the master’s habit of complete independence and the strange attraction for the Florentine to France become clear. Even Leonardo's writing style - with his left hand and from right to left - can be interpreted as an imitation of Jewish writing. This seems unlikely, but the scale of his personality allows him to make the most daring assumptions.
Stories about Priory provoke mistrust of scientists, but enrich artistic creativity. The most striking example is Dan Brown’s book, Da Vinci Code, and the film of the same name.
- At the age of 24 with three Florentine youths was charged with sodomy. The company was acquitted for lack of evidence.
- Maestro was a vegetarian. People consuming animal food, called "walking cemeteries."
- I shocked contemporaries with the habit of carefully examining and sketching the hanged in detail. The study of the device of the human body was considered the most important of the classes.
- It is believed that the maestro developed for Cesare Borgia tasteless and odorless poisons and wiretap wiretapping devices.
- TV mini-series "The Life of Leonardo da Vinci" (La vita di Leonardo da Vinci), shot by Renato Castellani, received the Golden Globe Award.
- Rome Fiumicino Airport named after Leonardo da Vinci and is decorated with a huge statue depicting a master with a model of a helicopter in his hands.