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Leonardo Da Vinci Biography | Painters Home Page  Leonardo Da Vinci Collection

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“Since we know that painting embraces the surfaces, colours and shapes of every single thing created by nature or resulting from the fortuitous actions of men - in short, all that the eye can see- he who can only do a single thing well seems to me but a poor master.”

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Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519)

Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, in the town of Vinci, not far from Florence.

Leonardo Davinci Mona Lisa Portrait of Lisa del GiocondoBeing an illegitimate child, Leonardo could not benefit from the educational opportunities that were granted to aristocrats, and was therefore not exposed to classical Greek manuscripts in his early years of education. Thus, with his sharp mind and endless curiosity, Leonardo began to re-discover his environment with his own observations, and with the method of “tabula rasa”(1) he found the chance to develop his own point of view on every matter…

Leonardo’s ease and talent in drawing attracted attention from his early years on and at the same time the perfection of his figures proved that he was a unique talent. According to historian Vasari, Leonardo’s father Piero showed the drawings to his close friend, artist Andrea del Verrocchio. Verrocchio was fascinated by the drawings of the young Leonardo and so at the age of 17 Leonardo began an apprenticeship in the workshop of Verrocchio. As a general evaluation of the drawings Leonardo made from his early years on until the last years of his life, one can say that with his observations on environment, objects and living things he was in fact exploring the mysteries of life.

Leonardo Da Vinci Yaşlıca Bir Erkeğin Başı ve Omuzları, 1510-1515Leonardi Da Vinci Yaşlıca Bir Erkeğin Başı ve Bir Aslan Başı Taslağı, 1505-1510Leonardo DaVinci Yaşlı Erkek ve Bir Genç (Salai) Profil Etüdleri, 1500-1505Leonardo Da Vinci Yaşlı Erkek Başı, 1505

Yaşlı Erkek Başı Profili, 1490 dolaylarıYaşlı Erkek Başı Profili, 1485-1490

Yarnwinder Meryemi, 1501Erkek Torsu Profili, Oran Sağlaması için Karelere Bölünen Baş, ve İki Binici Taslağı, 1490 ve 1504St. Hieronymous, 1480-1482St. Hieronymous, 1480-1482 Detail

Son Yemek Tablosu için Etüd (Yüce Aziz James) ve Mimari Etüdler, 1495Son Yemek Tablosu için Etüd (Peter)Son Yemek Tablosu için Etüd (Mürit Philip), 1495Son Yemek Tablosu için Etüd (Judas), 1495

Şapkalı Yaşlı Bir Erkeğin Grotesk Başı, 1490Sapkallı Yaşlı Erkek Profili, 1472 Sakallı Yaşlı Erkek Profil Etüdü, 1513Sakallı Yaşlı Erkek Başı (Otoportre), 1510-1515

Şapkalı Yaşlı Bir Erkeğin Grotesk Başı,Sakallı ve Saçları Örülü Yaşlı Erkek Profil Etüdü, 1511-1513Profilden Yaşlı Erkek Büstü (Gian Giacomo Trivulzio), 1510Profilden Bir Gencin Başı ve Omuzları (Salai), 1510Profilden Baş Etüdleri, 1478-1480

Meryem, Çocuk İsa ve Azize Anne, 1502-1516Bakire Benois 1475-1478Litta Meryemi, 1490Litta Meryemi, 1490 DetayKask ve Zırhlı

Lisa del Giocondo’nun Portresi (Mona Lisa), 1503-1506Lisa del Giocondo’nun Portresi (Mona Lisa Lisanın Tablosu), 1503-1506 DetayLisa del Giocondo’nun Portresi Mona Lisanın Resmi), 1503-1506 DetayLisa del Giocondo’nun Portresi (Mona Lisa büyük boy detay), 1503-1506 DetayLisa del Giocondo’nun Portresi (Mona Lisa Arka Plan Detay), 1503-1506 Detay

Kralların Secdesi, 1481-1482Meryem’e Müjde (Detay) 1472-1475Meryem’e Müjde (Detay), 1472-1475

Andrea del Verrocchio ve Leonardo, İsa’nin Vaftizi, 1472-1475İsa'nın Son Akşam Yemeği adlı yapıtının kopyasıAndrea del Verrochio

Kel Erkek Profili 1495Kel Erkek ProfilleriKayalıkların Meryem'i (Meryem ve İsa, bebek Aziz John ve bir melek), 1483-1486Kayalıkların Meryem'i (Meryem ve İsa, bebek Aziz John ve bir melek), 1483-1486 DetayKayalıkların Meryem'i (Meryem ve İsa, bebek Aziz John ve bir melek), 1483-1486 Detay

Madonna Benois, 1475-1478, Benois Meryemi, Bakire Benois, Karanfilli MeryemMadonna Benois, Karanfilli Meryem 1475-1478  DetayBenois Meryemi Bakire Benois Detay 1475 - 1478Kadın Portresi (La Belle Ferroniére), 1490Kadın Portresi (La Belle Ferroniére), 1490 Detay

İki Erkeğin Grotesk Portre EtüdleriGrotesk Yaşlı Kadın PortresiGrotesk Portre Etüdleri ve Dante karikatürü (sağ alt)Yaşlı Erkek Başı Profili, 1490

Grotesk Erkek Başı Etüdü, 1500-1505Grotesk Baş için Profil Etüdü, 1500-1505Ginevra de’Benci’nin PortresiGinevra de’Benci’nin Portresi (Detay)

Genç Bir Kadının Baş Profili Etüdü, 1511Genç Adam Portresi (Müzisyen Franchino Gaffurio), 1490Genç Adam Portresi (Müzisyen Franchino Gaffurio), 1490 DetayGenç Adam Portresi (Müzisyen Franchino Gaffurio), 1490 Detay

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Erkek Torsu Profili, Oran Saglaması için Karelere Bölünen Baş, İki Binici Taslagı, 1490 Defne Çelengli Yaşlı Erkek Profil Etüdü, 1506-1508

Cecilia Gallerani Portresi (Erminli Kadın)Cecilia Gallerani Portresi (Erminli Kadın) DetayBurlington Evi Karikatürü, (Meryem, İsa, Aziz Anne ve bebek Aziz John) 1499Burlington Evi Karikatürü, (Meryem, İsa, Aziz Anne ve bebek Aziz John) 1499 Detay

Bir Gencin Profilden Etüdü (Salai), 1510Baş ve Yüz Orantıları üzerine Etüd, 1489 Beş Grotesk Baş, 1494

Leonardo Da Vinci'nin Hayatı, Sanatı ve Felsefesi


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Some of the drawings and notes in his sketchbooks show that he was the first person to make autopsies with a systematic and scientific approach. He observed the functioning of the “machinery” of humans and of all living creatures, especially birds, as well as the changes that are caused in these organisms by ageing. And so, 500 years ago, he found some cause and effect relations which are still valid today. For example he came to the conclusion that rich and heavy food cause atherosclerosis as one gets older. Sigmund Freud emphasizes the fact that Leonardo never lost his childish and curious vision by saying, “Indeed the great Leonardo remained like a child for the whole of his life in more than one way; it is said that all great men are bound to retain some infantile part. Even as an adult he continued to play, and this was another reason why he often appeared uncanny and incomprehensible to his contemporaries.”

Leonardo da Vinci biography life

The artist has also often used the power of his observation talent on the people around him; his piercing gaze would penetrate through the masks people use to hide behind. This researching, relentless, curious and passionate perception has also left behind an unforgettable “gallery of types” showing various human types of Renaissance Italy.

A major part of these human drawings are sketches of figures necessary for the creation of portrait and composition orders. Another part of the drawings are of citizens of Renaissance Italy, who with their striking and extraordinary physical features attracted da Vinci’s attention and so had the privilege of entering his sketchbooks. These were people from Florence, Rome, Milan, people from the artist’s social environment, employers, their wives, sketches of portraits of members of the church, and various human portraits of beautiful, ugly, old, young, females and males.

The Renaissance period in which Leonardo lived was a time of continuous agitation, conflict, wars and riots. When searching for sponsors, Leonardo has therefore emphasized his engineering skills –his expertise in war machinery and methods– in his letters of application. It is no surprise that the male figures in Leonardo’s portraits stand out with their warrior, gruesome, grotesque features. It is also remarkable that the majority of the female figures he used in his religious paintings and portrait orders have an idealized beauty. Important exceptions to this conclusion are of course the “Portrait of a Grotesque Old Woman” which is thought to have been copied from Leonardo by Francesko Melzi in 1490/91 and the “Grotesque Portrait Studies” estimated to have been made in 1492.

But in general one can say that the women in his paintings such as “Mona Lisa” (Portrait of Lisa del Giocondo), “The Madonna of the Carnation”, “Annunciation”, “Portrait of Ginevra de' Benci”, “Virgin of the Rocks”, “Portrait of an Unknown Woman” dated 1490, “The Virgin and Child with St Anne” and “Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine)” have been idealized with smooth and radiant complexions and fully symmetric and geometric facial proportions.  One can also assume that the warrior rulers and other powerful men of Renaissance Italy got married to much younger women than themselves and therefore the majority of Leonardo’s models were young and beautiful women.

The inner organs of the human being in Leonardo’s anatomy drawings are more closely interconnected than they are in 0reality; this reflects his concept of the deep complexity of human nature. Leonardo believed that different parts of the body had emotional functions; for instance tears came directly from the heart, the seat of all feeling. In line with the idea that the human face is a direct reflection of an individual’s underlying character and momentary sensations, da Vinci gave expressions to the faces of the people he observed according to his opinion of them and to the role he gave them.

This must also be the reason why his gallery of human portraits stands out with grotesque and caricaturized images. In his illustrations of some emotional moments in Christian mythology, the artist tends to illustrate the people he isn’t fond of uglier than they are. On Leonardo da Vinci The Last Supperthe other hand, he would use all his talent to illustrate the people he is interested in or has special feelings towards -for example the noble women whose portraits he made- mysterious and emotional. His foremost work of this sort was surely the “Mona Lisa”, a painting he always carried by his side, until the day he died. da Vinci is mainly acknowledged and identified with the “Mona Lisa” portrait.

Using ink pens, Leonardo has illustrated the people he chose for his “human types gallery” in various positions -in side view, from the front and half way turned around- and with different facial expressions… We know that some of these drawings have been used for the figures in some of the few oil paintings he made on canvas. These works that complete each other are therefore a good indication of how, by using different painting materials and techniques, the same human face can have various superior and peculiar strengths of expression.

Vinci’s human illustrations take us right into the crowded streets of Renaissance Italy. The princes, priests, merchants, warriors, noblemen, women and children are the forerunner of the modern man, the individual, who has emerged in the atmosphere of freedom subsequent to the medieval.

555 years after his birth, we honor the big master Leonardo da Vinci with respect, as he is the one who has granted us this awareness by keeping a visual recollection of that period.


Leonardo got his start as an artist around 1469, when his father apprenticed him to the fabled workshop of Verocchio. Verocchio's specialty was perspective, which artists had only recently begun to get the hang of, and Leonardo quickly mastered its challenges. In fact, Leonardo quickly surpassed Verocchio, and by the time he was in his early twenties he was downright famous.

Renaissance Italy was centuries away from our culture of photographs and cinema, but Leonardo nevertheless sought a universal language in painting. With perspective and other realistic elements, Leonardo tried to create faithful renditions of life. In a culture previously dominated by highly figurative and downright strange religious paintings, Leonardo's desire to paint things realistically was bold and fresh. This call to objectivity became the standard for painters who followed in the 16th century.

No slouch when it came to the techniques of the day, Leonardo went beyond his teaching by making a scientific study of light and shadow in nature. It dawned on him that objects were not comprised of outlines, but were actually three-dimensional bodies defined by light and shadow. Known as chiaroscuro, this technique gave his paintings the soft, lifelike quality that made older paintings look cartoony and flat. He also saw that an object's detail and color changed as it receded in the distance. This technique, called sfumato, was originally developed by Flemish and Venetian painters, but of course Super-Genius Leonardo transformed it into a powerful tool for creating atmosphere and depth.

Ever the perfectionist, Leonardo turned to science in the quest to improve his artwork. His study of nature and anatomy emerged in his stunningly realistic paintings, and his dissections of the human body paved the way for remarkably accurate figures. He was the first artist to study the physical proportions of men, women and children and to use these studies to determine the "ideal" human figure. Unlike many of his contemporaries -- Michelangelo for example -- he didn't get carried away and paint ludicrously muscular bodies, which he referred to as "bags of nuts."

All in all, Leonardo believed that the artist must know not just the rules of perspective, but all the laws of nature. The eye, he believed, was the perfect instrument for learning these laws, and the artist the perfect person to illustrate them.

Who is Leonardo da Vinci

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