October 22, 2011
Henry (Chip) Hellman
LEONARDO DA VINCI – A NEW KIND OF ART
Leonardo da Vinci was, among many other things, an extremely noteworthy artist of the Italian Renaissance who was an innovation in style and technique. He describes the first picture in the world as "a line surrounding the shadow of a man, cast by the sun on the wall" so it could be said that Leonardo da Vinci’s gift was helping to turn that simple form of art into an expression of emotion combined with a truer reproduction of form (da Vinci tr. by Baring, 1906). Although Leonardo da Vinci had the aptitude for a number of other skills (sculptor, architect, musician, draftsman, ...view middle of the document...
He didn’t feel any picture was complete unless it was able to effectively portray a subject’s current emotional state.
After making a name for himself in Florence, in 1482 he went to work for the Duke of Milan (Ludovico Sforza) for sixteen years as a military/naval engineer, a sculptor, and a painter. During this time he composed the majority of a large part of his personal notebooks that show the full degree of his artistic genius and personal versatility (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2008). From 1483 to 1498, Leonardo worked on the two versions of Madonna of the Rocksc (one in the Louvre, 1483-c.1486, and another in the National Gallery, London, 1483-1508) and a fresco of the Last Supperd, both of which considered world masterpieces (The Columbia Encyclopedia, 2008). After the fall of Ludovico Sforza in 1499, Leonardo left Milan and briefly traveled to Mantua and Venice, and then returned to Florence in 1500. In 1502 he served Cesare Borgia as a military engineer which took him to central Italy to study swamp reclamation projects; here he met Niccolo Machiavelli who later became a close friend. By 1503 he went back to Florence to work on a fresco of the battle of Anghiarie and the portrait of Mona Lisaf. In 1506, Leonardo returned to Milan to work for Charles d’Amboise in the name of the French king, Louis XII as an architect and engineer. Combined with his other studies, he continued searching for a scientific connection to art (Baring, 1906), and worked actively as a painter and sculptor; this work left a strong example of Leonardo’s handling of sfumoto which is a misty, subtle transition in tone. In 1515 Leonardo accepted an invitation of Francis I to settle at the castle of...