Where did Leonardo da Vinci go?
childhood and education:
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in a small fortified hilltop village near Florence. It arose from the short affair of the young and respected notary Ser Piero with a peasant girl. The father, who was later married four times and had well over ten children, accepted Leonardo da Vinci as his biological son and raised him in his house. At the age of five, little Leonardo moved to his father's country estate in Vinci, a small Tuscan town from which he later derived his surname. The extremely successful Ser Piero was in contact with many respected artists and intellectuals from the Florentine environment due to his professional activity and placed great emphasis on giving his illegitimate son a solid education. Leonardo da Vinco was taught reading, writing and mathematics in his father's house, but already in his early childhood he showed a remarkable artistic talent, which his father recognized and specifically promoted. Ser Piero proudly showed his friend the painter Andrea del Verrocchio his first drawings. Because of the boy's obvious talent, the two men decided that Leonardo da Vinci should be apprenticed to Verrocchio.
From 1470 Leonardo da Vinci lived in Florence with Verrocchio, who not only taught him painting and sculpture. Since Verrocchio enjoyed the reputation of an excellent craftsman in Florence, the young Leonardo also learned to work with metal, wood and leather and to knot tapestries in his master’s studio. His first work that was clearly assigned to him, a drawing of the landscape of the Arno Valley, which he made in 1473, comes from his time with Verrocchio, with whom he spent a total of seven years. For a painting of the Baptism of Christ, which was commissioned by his teacher for the Vallombrosa monastery and is now on display in the Florence Academy, the young Leonardo da Vinci added kneeling angel figures, the perfection and beauty of which was praised by some contemporaries. During his apprenticeship with Verrocchio, he was accepted into the Florentine St. Luke's Guild and began to work as a freelance artist.
Career and Achievements:
After his apprenticeship, which officially ended in 1477, he received his first commissions from famous personalities and ecclesiastical institutions before starting to work as an artist under the patronage of Lorenzo de Medici from 1482.
Only a few works by the artist have survived from the time in Florence between 1470 and 1483, many of them are incomplete. The most important works of his creative period that are ascribed to him include the "Annunciation" exhibited today in the Louvre, the "Madonna with Carnation", the portrait of Signora de Benci known as "La Monaca" as well as several sculptures and silver pen drawings, many of them depictions of the Madonna . There is clear evidence that Leonardo da Vinci already dealt extensively with architecture, construction, hydraulics and mechanics during his early career and made many studies and sketches for them.
From 1483 Leonardo da Vinci was probably traveling for four years before he settled in Milan in 1487, where he quickly made friends with society due to his eloquence and charming personality. He designed the backdrops and costumes for an event on the occasion of the wedding of a duke and a little later a detailed bathing pavilion for the bride. In Milan he trained in various subjects in the city's libraries. His constantly expanding intellectual knowledge flowed into "The Last Supper", one of his most famous works, which Leonardo da Vinci made during his time in Milan. A draft of the equestrian statue of Francesco Sforza also comes from this creative period, but was never realized.
The conquest of Milan by France and a commission for an altarpiece drew the artist back to Florence in 1499, where he entered the service of Cesare Borgia in 1502 and painted his famous Mona Lisa over the next few years. In Florence he also designed some maps and was commissioned with the frescoes in the Palazzo della Signora together with Michelangelo. After 1503, Leonardo da Vinci repeatedly took on students and began to deal intensively with anatomical studies and scientific research in various fields, but above all mathematics. His intensive travel activities took him and his students to Rome, Parma and France in those years.
Leonardo da Vinci spent the last years of his life in Amboise on the Loire, where he moved in 1516 at the invitation of Francis I. The French king made the small country castle Clos Lucé near Amboise available to him, where Leonardo da Vinci primarily dealt with architectural and technical drafts as well as hydrological work for the property and the surrounding river systems. In the last years of his life, Leonardo da Vinci was also responsible for organizing the court festivities that Francis I organized on Amboise. He died on May 2, 1519 in Clos Lucé, after making his will a few weeks earlier. He was buried in the monastery of St. Florentin. In the 19th century, his bones were lost in the course of restoration work on the church.
Since Leonardo da Vinci was never married, had no children, and nothing was known that he ever had relationships with women, it is believed that he could have been homosexual. However, some biographers of the artist assume that Leonardo da Vinci, a busy person and a highly intellectual rationalist, lived abstinently in order not to be distracted by emotions and sensuality. The thesis of his homosexuality, often cited in the past, based on his artistic depictions of young undressed men, is in any case not tenable, since these appear as an important element of Renaissance art in the works of many other painters. Even the fact that Leonardo da Vinci always maintained close friendly relations with his exclusively male students can no longer serve as clear evidence today that Leonardo da Vinci actually had homosexual tendencies.
Leonardo da Vinci is considered one of the most important artists of the Italian Renaissance, but occupies a special position within this art movement. In contrast to his colleagues and contemporaries, he was not only interested in reviving ancient ideals and models, but was constantly inspired by nature and the things and people in his immediate surroundings. Although he owes his perfectionism in the representation of the smallest details to the studies of antique objects in the houses of his patrons, Leonardo da Vinci always strived to depict the incomprehensible and unusual beneath the surface. His keen interest in curious constructions, hidden laws and anatomical peculiarities in humans, animals and plants also contributed significantly to his reputation as the Italian universal genius. Even if the majority of his innovative ideas never went beyond the sketch stage, they are evidence of a visionary who was far ahead of his time on an intellectual, artistic and technical level.
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