The Biography of one of the greatest Minds – Leonardo Da Vinci
The name of Leonardo Da Vinci needs no introduction. His immaculate skills as an engineer, as an architect and as a painter earned him the title of “The Renaissance Master”. He was a perfectionist who did all of his trades with utter perfection. However, he is most commonly known in all parts of the world as the creator of The Mona Lisa.
The Early Life
As far as his early life is concerned, he was born in 1452 on April the 15th. Since his early age, he was good at fine arts. In fact, at the age of 15, he became so proficient with the fine arts that he was eventually sent to the Florence to work in a workshop of Andrea Del Verrocchio. Del Verrocchio and Da Vinci worked together for a long time in the Verrocchio’s studio. In 1477, Del Verrocchio painted The Baptism of Christ and Da Vinci completed the work by adding an angel. However, that angel was so beautifully painted that it surpassed the major part of the painting. Some historians believe that Del Verrocchio felt so dejected by getting overshadowed by his own student’s work that he gave up his profession.
Professional Career & The Journey
Da Vinci, later on, started working individually in Florence until the year 1481. Before leaving Florence, he was given commissions for two paintings. One painting was “The Adoration of the Magi” and the other was supposed to be painted at St. Bernard Chapel. However, he did not complete either of the paintings during the allotted time and left Florence. Some historians believe that it was the false allegations of sodomy that made him lose his interest in those commissions. His image was severely damaged among the public and it is considered the worst humiliation in his entire life. If that was not enough, he did not even get an invitation to take part in the commission of “The Sistine Chapel”.
After leaving Florence, he migrated to Milan and worked for Ludovico from the end of the year 1481 to 1499. Without any doubts, it was one of his most productive eras. During this time period, he painted the phenomenal paintings like “The Last Supper” and “The Virgin of the Rocks”.
He left Milan after the invasion of French in 1500. He spent a few weeks in Venice first, but then moved back to Florence. He knew that he had the fame and popularity among the people of Florence. However, this time, he joined Cesare Borgia as an architect and engineer for military services. This position demanded him travel from one place to the other and explore the various places near him.
In 1503, he once again returned to Florence. This time, he was given a commission to paint again. He has to paint “The Battle of Anghiari” that was supposed to be placed in the council hall of the Palazzo Vecchio. However, he was hired by the governor of Milan and he left Florence leaving his incomplete piece of art. Before leaving for Milan, he painted one of the most popular pieces of art in the history of mankind. He was commissioned to paint a portrait of the wife of a rich merchant. Therefore, it was the era of 1503 to 1506 when Da Vinci produced the masterpiece of “The Mona Lisa”. There are several conflicting stories about the woman in this painting and many people believe that there is no solid evidence available that may identify the real woman behind the portrait of “The Mona Lisa”. Nevertheless, the rumors are easily overshadowed by the quality of this masterpiece and it is still the center of attention of thousands of tourists who visit the Louver in Paris just for the sake of seeing “The Mona Lisa” painting.
In the year 1506, Da Vinci took more interest in the human anatomy. During this time period, he was primarily working as an architect, but he also sketched a few paintings during the same time period. However, in 1513, French were forced to leave Milan and Da Vinci had to move to another city to find work. So, he went to a friend in Rome and stayed at his place in the Vatican. He stayed for about three years, but he could not get any commissions. Meanwhile, both of his top rivals, Raphael and Michelangelo kept getting commissions at the same time.
In 1516, the king of France invited Da Vinci to offer his services for the king. Therefore, he left Italy and stayed in France to never return again. Finally, he passed away at the age of 67 years in France. He was buried in a church, but it got completely destroyed during the French Revolution. The church in Saint-Florentin has nothing left of Da Vinci, but he stays alive through his intellectual work of art and architecture and unique inventions as well.
Notable Inventions and The Artwork
Most people know Leonardo Da Vinci as an artist or an architect only. However, they may find it surprising that he was more than good in the scientific industry as well. He was an extremely intelligent man that brought some exciting new ideas to the world of Science and invented many unique contraptions.
He always had an interest in sketching the working cycle of different gadgets and machines since his early days. This interest led him to come up with the idea of different flying machines, musical instruments and different kinds of war weapons as well. In fact, his design of the ornithopter flying machine is considered the major inspiration for the creation of the modern helicopters of the current era.
It may be yet another surprising fact for most people that he was the man behind the creation of the first ever war tank on this planet. It was not obviously built with latest technology. Thus, it was supposed to be pulled by horses or by men themselves. The only flaw in these tanks was that the front and the back wheels of the tank in this design used to move against the directions of each other. He also worked on many small weapons like slingshots and crossbows to improve the overall performance of the weapons. For instance, he invented a catapult that was only good enough for short-range shots, but it could be loaded incredibly fast.
The diversity of his inventions and intellectual thought process can be imagined by the fact that he was also one of the first few people who invented an alarm clock. This whole idea was based on the flow of water. He took two containers and made them work in a way that water would drip from the 1st container to the 2nd until the 2nd container is fully filled. When this happens, the legs of the sleeping person would be lifted with the help of pre-programmed pulleys and gears to wake up the person. Meanwhile, he also developed a design of a crane that would help in moving large and heavy boulders in an easy manner. Thus, it would improve the efficiency and speed of moving the boulders. However, he could not practically construct this design in his life.
Last, but certainly not the least, he was one of the greatest minds of all time. He was equally good in all of his trades. He was an equally good architect, engineer, inventor and artist. Meanwhile, it is sad to see that most people only admire Da Vinci the Artist, but not Da Vinci the Inventor.