Leonardo da Vinci ( * 1452 † 1519 )

Portrait of an old man presumably by Leonardo da Vinci

Why is The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci famous?


Born on April 15, 1452, in Tuscany, near the town of Vinci, Leonardo da Vinci grew up under the care of his grandparents. His early education in art was mentored by Andre Verrocchio in Florence. By 1466, he had joined the esteemed artistic guild, "Company San Luca," and remained Verrocchio's pupil for five more years. Leonardo da Vinci's paintings started gaining attention during his time at the court of the Sforzas in Milan from 1482 to 1499, where he also demonstrated his skills in sculpture and architecture.

It was during his years in Milan that Leonardo da Vinci painted one of his most renowned artworks, "The Last Supper." This painting is considered a monumental achievement for various reasons. It marked the beginning of the High Renaissance and broke new ground in terms of its compositional techniques. The emotional depth portrayed in the disciples, along with the intricate play of light and shadow, made it a seminal piece that has been studied and admired for centuries. "The Last Supper" stands as a testament to Leonardo's mastery in capturing complex human emotions and narratives through art.

In 1500, Leonardo da Vinci returned to Florence and stayed until 1506. This period witnessed the birth of another iconic painting, the "Mona Lisa". Leonardo was not just confined to his easel; he was also deeply involved in anatomical studies at a local hospital's mortuary during this time.

From 1506 to 1513, Leonardo da Vinci undertook administrative roles, becoming the governor of Milan for the King of France. Later, he moved to Rome and stayed until 1516 before his final years in France, serving King François I. He passed away on May 2, 1519.

Leonardo da Vinci's paintings place him in the echelons of High Renaissance masters like Michelangelo, Raphael, and Titian. Yet, his unparalleled versatility across multiple disciplines distinguishes him as a unique genius. Whether it's "The Last Supper," the "Mona Lisa," or his numerous sketches and inventions, Leonardo da Vinci's body of work continues to captivate and inspire, making him an enduring figure in the world of art and science.

Wall art prints and famous paintings by Leonardo da Vinci
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