Biographies

Leonardo da Vinci, the genius of the Renaissance

Leonardo da Vinci, the genius of the Renaissance

Leonardo da Vinci was one of the great thinkers in history.

Although better known as a painter, Leonardo was a notable polymath of the Italian Renaissance who stood out in various areas such as architecture, sculpture, philosophy, engineering, anatomy, science in general, music and poetry among many others.

Leonardo was born in the Italian city of Vinci on April 15, 1452. He spent his first five years at his father's house, where he was treated as a legitimate son even though he was not. There he learned to read, write and some arithmetic, but not Latin, which was the basis of traditional teaching. His training had gaps and was far from that of a university student. Later he trained as an artist in Florence as an apprentice of Andrea Verrochio. However, he played a large part of his career in other cities in Italy such as Rome or Milan.

Despite standing out in a wide range of sectors, it has been precisely his pictorial work that has raised Leonardo da Vinci as one of the main characters in art history.

Thus, some of his works such as the Mona Lisa, The Annunciation, the sacrament or the Adoration of the Magi have become masterpieces of painting. And they are works that are based on the perfection of the drawing and in which the use of color and gradation complete the effect of perspective. Also, they introduced a novel technique, known as sfumato, in which the silhouettes and sharp contours of the "Quattrocento" are blurred.

However, in addition to being a painter, he had an important role in the world of science, also considering himself as one of the greatest inventors of all history. And it is that according to Leonardo da Vinci himself, there should be no separation between science and art.

Leonardo da Vinci developed important research on topics such as human anatomy, expanding existing knowledge about human muscles or blood circulation, zoology, geology or astronomy, a field in which he defended that the Earth was part of the System Solar, ahead of Galileo. However, where his talent was best demonstrated was in the field of engineering.

In spite of all this, that the genius of Leonardo da Vinci was set on such different goals made him hardly exert influence on them, although he did achieve great personal prestige.

Leonardo da Vinci died on May 2, 1519 in Amboise. He left more than fifty thousand documents, a good part of which have been lost. Thirteen thousand are preserved, most of them in the Vatican City archive.

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