Leonardo Da Vinci was one of the most accomplished polymath in Europe during the 15th and 16th centuries. As the bridge between the medieval and Renaissance periods, Da Vinci was the extraordinary embodiment of the Renaissance ideals, being an exceptional genius whose interests were spread over multiple fields and domains.
As a painter, Da Vinci earned lasting fame as one of the best of all times . As an inventor, he is regarded as a man who was well ahead of his time. His works and interests also related to mathematics, engineering, geology, literature, astronomy and history among other subjects.
Da Vinci was born in 1452 in Florence. Little is known about his early life except that he attained some informal education in Latin and mathematics. In 1466, Leonardo joined the workshop of the famed Florentine artist, Andrea del Verrocchio. It was here that Leonardo was able to learn a great deal about a vast variety of subjects including metalwork, chemistry, painting, sculpting, drafting and other skills related to the art.
In 1482, he went to Milan and lived there until 1499. In 1499, he left Milan for Venice and in 1502, he started working for Cesare Borgia. Towards the last phase of his life from 1513 to 1519, Leonardo spent a considerable time in working on many works commissioned at Vatican, Rome. He died in 1519 while being under the royal patronage of Francis I of France who had become a close friend of Leonardo around this time.
During his lifetime, Leonardo worked on a huge number of paintings, sculptures and other artwork. In so doing, he was frequently commissioned by the notables of the age ranging from French monarchs and Italian dukes to the Pope himself.
His famous paintings include the ‘St. Jerome in the Wilderness’, the ‘Virgin of the Rocks’, ‘The Last Supper’ and the ‘Mona Lisa’. Apart from his paintings, Leonardo also left behind a huge body of sketches and drawings which are of the same exceptional quality of his paintings.
Most notable among these is the ‘Vitruvian Man’, a drawing where Leonardo explores the balanced proportions of human physique.
Although he received famed as one of the most talented painters, sculptors and artists of his age, Leonardo also left behind a rich legacy in the form of his journals. His journals reveal that he had an equally great gift for mathematics, geography, architecture and anatomy, making frequent sketches, drawings and observations which he would note in his journals.
In his journal, he penned down possibilities of constructing flying machines, tanks, parachute’s and ways of using solar power, he was way ahead of his time in this respect. He also wrote about human anatomy in detail and left nearly 240 drawings and 13000 words for a treatise on anatomy.
As part of his work on anatomy, Leonardo also studied human emotions in detail. His journals comprised of nearly 13000 pages of notes and drawings.