Leonardo da Vinci

About Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci (April 15, 1452 – May 2, 1519, Old Style) was an Italian Renaissance polymath: painter, sculptor, architect, musician, mathematician, engineer, inventor, anatomist, geologist, cartographer, botanist, and writer. His genius, perhaps more than that of any other figure, epitomized the Renaissance humanist ideal. Leonardo has often been described as the archetype of the Renaissance Man, a man of "unquenchable curiosity" and "feverishly inventive imagination". He is widely considered to be one of the greatest painters of all time and perhaps the most diversely talented person ever to have lived. According to art historian Helen Gardner, the scope and depth of his interests were without precedent and "his mind and personality seem to us superhuman, the man himself mysterious and remote". Marco Rosci states that while there is much speculation about Leonardo, his vision of the world is essentially logical rather than mysterious, and that the empirical methods he employed were unusual for his time.

Born out of wedlock to a notary, Piero da Vinci, and a peasant woman, Caterina, in Vinci in the region of Florence, Leonardo was educated in the studio of the 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 he spent his last years in France at the home awarded him by Francis I.

Leonardo was, and is, renowned primarily as a painter. Among his works, the Mona Lisa is the most famous and most parodied portrait and The Last Supper the most reproduced religious painting of all time, with their fame approached only by Michelangelo's The Creation of Adam. Leonardo's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on items as varied as the euro coin, textbooks, and T-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of his paintings survive, the small number because of his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, compose a contribution to later generations of artists rivalled only by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

Leonardo is revered for his technological ingenuity. He conceptualised flying machines, a tank, concentrated solar power, an adding machine, and the double hull, also outlining a rudimentary theory of plate tectonics. Relatively few of his designs were constructed or were even feasible during his lifetime, but some of his smaller inventions, such as an automated bobbin winder and a machine for testing the tensile strength of wire, entered the world of manufacturing unheralded. He made important discoveries in anatomy, civil engineering, optics, and hydrodynamics, but he did not publish his findings and they had no direct influence on later science.

Read More:

Quotes By Leonardo da Vinci

Truly man is the king of beasts, for his brutality exceeds them. We live by the death of others. We are burial places.

See available posters »

The time will come when men such as I will look upon the murder of animals as they now look upon the murder of men.

See available posters »

My body will not be a tomb for other creatures.

See available posters »

How You Can Help

1 Follow

The success of this project depends on you sharing the artwork we create. If you can, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest (we need to do more on Pinterest!) and you'll find out as soon as we add new poster designs and new quotations from the world's greater thinkers.

2 Share

Then don't forget to share anything you like on your favourite social networks. The more people that see what's being said, the better.

Let's push the message further out there.

3 Print

Print, print and print out what you like. Add one to that space on the noticeboard at work. How about that billboard on the way to the café? If there's room and it's legal, print out a few posters and tape them to boards, lamp posts and bus shelters.

4 Give

Got a friend's birthday coming up? Or just want to treat your sister? It's pretty cost effective to print out your favourite posters (even at a professional printers), throw it in a suitable frame and wrap it up - gift sorted!


Quote Of The Day

Veganism is not about eating broccoli! It has become the biggest social justice movement of our time.

Eddie Mah