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This Leonardo Da Vinci Paintings Page is part of 'The Great Masters' section, if you haven't yet read it, or our 'Home Page', maybe you'd like to check them out before reading on.

The following, is a brief biography of Leonardo Da Vinci, his life and works, with several examples of the more famous Leonardo Da Vinci paintings woven into the text. If you have a favorite work of his, just let us know the name of the piece, and we'll create it for you from our vast photo stock of his works.

alt text Leonardo, one the world’s greatest thinkers, artists, and philosophers.

In several different fields he proved to be both innovative and several centuries ahead of his contemporaries.

Born the illegitimate son of a Florentine nobleman and peasant woman he grew up in Vinci, Italy.

In 1466 he moved to Florence where he entered the workshop of Verrocchio. His early style reflected his teacher, but he soon developed an artistic sense which went far beyond his teachers.

alt text His first work of great significance was the, 'Adoration of the Magi', commissioned by monks of San Donato a Scopeto.

Although unfinished, the work was a masterpiece and introduced several new ideas. In particular he introduced the themes of movement and drama.

He also pioneered the use of Chiaroscuro. This is the technique of defining forms through the contrast of light and shadow. This would be later used to great effect in the Mona Lisa paintings.

alt text In 1482 Leonardo was appointed to the court of Ludovico Sforza in Milan.

During this period he painted the, 'Madonna on the Rocks” and 'The Last Supper'. Which has been accredited as one of the greatest Leonardo Da Vinci paintings as well as one of the finest spiritual paintings ever painted.

In 1499 L. Sfoza was ousted by the French, and Leonardo, returned to Florence.

During this period he painted the fresco of the battle of Anghiari. It was also during this period that Leonardo completed The Mona Lisa, one of the worlds most famous paintings.

alt text The Mona Lisa is a portrait of a Florentine nobles wife. For several days she sat for Leonardo, but refused to smile, he even hired musicians, but to no avail. Then one day, just for a second, she actually gave a faint smile and Leonardo was able to capture it.

In the Mona Lisa, Leonardo masters the techniques of sfumato and chiaroscuro. Sfumato, is the most gradual switch from color to color, giving a very delicate and expressive image. Chiaroscuro, highlights the contrasts of light and shadow. In the Mona Lisa this is most evident in the contrast between a light face and a dark background.

alt text During this period Leonardo advanced his studies into engineering, science and other subjects. He made copious notes in his complex mirror handwriting. A lot of which wasn’t deciphered in his life-time.

He also drew complex models of machines, in particular he was fascinated by flight, and attempted to build a flying machine. The machines he drew on paper, such as helicopters, would become a reality many centuries later.

Between 1506-1510 Leonardo spent time in Milan working on behalf of the French King Lois XII.

In 1513 he moved to Rome where he enjoyed the patronage of the new Medici pope, Leo X. Here he worked with the great masters, Michelangelo and Raphael.

In 1515 he left to settle at the castle of Cloux, near Amboise, by the invitation of King Francis I of France. Here he spent his last years free to pursue his own studies.

In 1519 he died, leaving behind one of the greatest bodies of artistic and scientific works ever created.

Leonardo Da Vinci Paintings

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