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Leonardo Da Vinci Biography

Biography | 8-14 yrs | Interactive

Kids… have you ever wondered what you would like to become when you grow up? A teacher, an engineer, a lawyer, a doctor, a pilot… the list is endless. Why not do something different? Make a career out of your hobbies… have a little bit of every profession in you? Just like the most famous personality of the 15th and 16th century- Leonardo da Vinci who was not only an artist and a scientist but was also a military engineer, an inventor, a toymaker, a machine designer, an architect, a singer, a theatre costume and set designer and an animal lover! Apart from all of this, Leonardo was regarded as the greatest painter in world history during the Renaissance period; which was the time when the greatest inventions and important developments took place in the field of art and science.

When and Where was Leonardo Da Vinci Born?

So how did Leonardo become the master of so many techniques? Let us take a look starting from the time Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in Italy. His father was from a rich family and his mother was a poor peasant. Leonardo spent his childhood with his mother, in poverty.

Leonardo, from his childhood, was a brilliant painter. He loved painting so much that he studied painting regularly and created his own paints as well. Seeing this, Leonardo’s father took him to Florence to a famous painter Verrochio who guided Leonardo with his extraordinary painting abilities. As Leonardo was the favorite of his teacher, many students were jealous of him. Leonardo spent many years learning art under his teacher. After a few years he became an independent artist.

At the very young age of just 25, Leonardo had started his own workshop and had become a famous painter. Even though he was a great artist, Leonardo had trouble finishing his work because he had diverse interests. He also had an inclination towards science.

Leonardo had heard about the Duke of Milan and sent him a letter asking if he could work for the Duke. Without any hesitation the Duke welcomed Leonardo to Milan. The Duke gave him many paintings and projects to work on.

The Last Supper Painting

Leonardo flourished during this time, making many weapons that were used in wars. In the years he spent with the Duke, Leonardo completed some extremely famous paintings like ‘The Last Supper’ and ‘The Virgin of the Rocks’ in which he applied the rules of Perspective, applied even today in art. He also built a statue of the Father of the Duke of Milan which took 16 years to complete but because of the French military war, the statue was destroyed.

Leonardo was a busy man in Milan. He was busy working as a painter, architect and a scientist. Now Leonardo’s interest diverted towards anatomy, the study of the human body. Along with one of his students, Leonardo went to dig out a dead body for dissection. However, it was against church rules and thus Leonardo was put in prison.

After being set free from prison, Leonardo decided to return to his hometown Vinci in Italy. However, when he found his mother had died, Leonardo’s heart broke and he returned to Florence where he worked as a military advisor.

Leonardo’s thought was always ahead of his time. He was very intrigued by birds and their ability to fly. Thus he created many designs which resembled the helicopter and an airplane, but at that time, no one understood it. When scientists compare the structure of Leonardo’s airplane and the airplanes we have today, they find many similarities in them.

His interest in anatomy did not die. He studied anatomy of the human body in great depth and in order to explain his thoughts on anatomy he created hundreds of drawings. The most famous among them is the ‘Vitruvian Man’ which is a complex design explaining the relationship between human body and geometry.

He dissected many human bodies in order to understand how anatomy worked. Later he applied the principles of muscles propelling bones to build a robotic knight which was used for entertainment at parties.

Who Painted the Mona Lisa?

Even though he worked for the military, his love for art remained with him. He painted a portrait of the wife of a wealthy silk merchant, Mona Lisa. However, he couldn’t complete his painting as she had moved from Florence.

One day, Leonardo heard about Mona Lisa’s death and was devastated and he left Florence. Leonardo decided to move to France and spend the rest of his life there. Leonardo gifted his favorite painting of Mona Lisa to King Francis I who often visited Leonardo.

Since Leonardo’s drawings and inventions were much ahead of his time, his inventions were never built during his lifetime. Leonardo also never published any of his inventions. He simply kept a personal diary in which he recorded them. The diary was discovered much later after Leonardo’s death.

The Inventions of Leonardo Da Vinci

Some of the most famous inventions from Leonardo’s designs are:

  • The parachute and the ornithopter, much like a helicopter
  • Machine gun
  • Diving suit
  • A planned city design with urban living
  • Self propelled cart- a cart with no driver being the first robotic vehicle

Interesting Facts about Leonardo Da Vinci :

  1. He also made drawings of musical instruments, war machines, calculators and boats; but due to the limited technology at that time, they could not be made.
  2. Leonardo da Vinci wrote in the opposite direction to how normally people write. It means he wrote as mirror images of the actual words.
  3. He was also interested in astronomy and was the first person to explain why the sky is blue and also why the moon is dimly visible when it becomes a thin crescent.
  4. His famous paintings can be found in the Louvre museum in Paris which has had them for over 200 years now.
  5. He also studied river erosion and came out with the theory that the Earth is much older than what the Bible implies. He also disagreed with the Noah’s flood theory and deduced that marine fossils left on the mountains were because of rising and falling sea levels.

For more famous painters around the world, visit: http://mocomi.com/learn/culture/famous-people/painters/

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