1452 - 1519
Leonardo da Vinci is one of the most intriguing and perplexing artists of all time, working at the same time as Michelangelo and Raphael during the High Renaissance. As well as a painter, architect and musician, Leonardo was also into science, engineering, inventing and writing. He made his mark on the art world with his personal techniques, especially chiaroscuro, (contrasting very dark backgrounds with highlighted illuminated subjects,) and sfumato, (the art of clouding and blending paint to become a smoky border).
Mona Lisa c.1503
The Mona Lisa is not exactly a painting that needs an introduction. The painting is also known as La Giaconda after its subject Lisa del Giocondo, whose husband commissioned the painting. The feedback I hear most from seeing the painting the Louvre is the shock of its size; for such a famous image, it is actually quite small at just 30 inches by 21. Leonardo supposedly spent a long time on the portrait, hence why the dating is difficult to be sure of.
Another of Leonardo’s most prominent works in the study of The Vitruvian Man, titled for its inclusion of notes from the Roman architect and writer Vitruvius. The drawing shows Leonardo’s passion for anatomy and precision; notice how the figure fits perfectly into the circle and the square with just a simple raising of arms and legs. Vitruvius’ notes are based on physical measurements using the human body as a guide.
The Vitruvian Man c.1487