“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt,
and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”
~ Leonardo da Vinci
Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the village of Vinci, just outside of Florence in the region of Tuscany, Italy.
From an early age, he proved to be quite the artist and at the age of 14, he was apprenticed to the master painter, Andrea del Verrochio. It is said that Leonardo soon surpassed his master and Verrochio became so ashamed of his own talents that he swore never to paint again.
Despite his training as a painter, Da Vinci was also a sculptor,
a writer, an architect,
a botanist, a mathematician, an engineer, and an inventor.
In fact, he invented earlier versions of many items we have today, such as the armored tank, the hang glider, scissors, the life preserver, diving equipment, the catapult, a movable bridge, a robot, the machine gun, a submarine, the parachute, the helicopter, and much, much more! He is considered the epitome of the Renaissance Man, because he possessed an “unquenchable curiosity” and a “feverishly inventive imagination.”
He researched the workings of the human body by spending time among corpses, studying them and sketching out anatomical details.
He studied birds and flight, and even invented a flying machine. And being fascinated to the point of obsession, he even tried countless ways to fly himself. Although as far as we know, he never quite achieved it.
Leonardo left thousands of notes illustrated with his sketches in what have now been put into notebooks, or codices.
But out of all his drawings, paintings, experiments, and inventions, his most famous work is the Mona Lisa.
Did you know that out all the paintings Da Vinci began, he only finished 6 of them? Because he was an absolute genius and incredibly inquisitive about the world around him, he had a very short attention span and was easily distracted. So unfortunately, he found it difficult to finish an art project before turning his attention elsewhere. This got him in trouble more than once.
Unlike many other artists, Da Vinci actually achieved fame and success while he was still alive. But he has become world famous since his death in 1519.
Giorgio Vasari said of him, “Leonardo da Vinci was a man of regal spirit and tremendous breadth of mind; and his name became so famous that not only was he esteemed during his lifetime, but his reputation endured and became even greater after his death.”
How true this is!
In fact, over 500 years after he lived, he is still considered a genius and one of the most gifted men to have ever lived.
Want to experiment with Da Vinci’s art? In my Mixing with the Masters, Volume One lesson on Da Vinci, we learn even more about him and create three pieces inspired by some of his masterworks.
Purchase the entire course (including six master artists) for $60:
Or the Leonardo da Vinci lesson for only $12:
Book Recommendations for Further Study:
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*Linking up with my friends at iHomeschool Network for April Birthday Lessons.
Alisha Gratehouse is an artist, art instructor, minister’s wife, and homeschooling mom of three. Her days are filled with creating, painting, writing, drinking lots of tea, laughing with (and at) her family, and spontaneously bursting forth into song. Alisha is the author of several books including, A Life That Flourishes.