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Who is Leonardo Da Vinci?

By Kathy Hawkins
Updated May 23, 2024
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Leonardo da Vinci is a famous Italian painter, inventor, sculptor, and musician, among his many other talents. He lived from 1452 to 1519, and is considered to be the archetype of the "Renaissance man," meaning that he was skilled in a huge variety of fields. He was born as the illegitimate son of a peasant, but during his lifetime, rose to great fame and gained such respect throughout the world that he was carried to his deathbed by the King of France.

Some of the greatest accomplishments by Leonardo da Vinci are in the field of painting. He is responsible for creating many of the world's most famous and renowned works of art, including the Mona Lisa painting, a portrait of a woman with a mysterious smile. Da Vinci was also the painter of an iconic religious image, The Last Supper, which pictures Jesus eating dinner at a long table with his disciples.

Leonardo da Vinci also wrote in a series of notebooks, which added up to more than 13,000 pages over the course of his lifetime. Primarily, the notebooks were filled with writings and drawings relating to art, science, and philosophy. They included notes for inventions that were far ahead of his time, such as sketches of an imaginary aircraft or notes for building an armored military tank. Today, these notebooks are featured in exhibitions in museums throughout the world, such as the Louvre in Paris and the British Museum in London. Other scholars and writers, including Giorgio Vasari and H. Taine, have spoken of da Vinci as the greatest artist ever to live.

There have been many representations of Leonardo da Vinci in popular culture through the years. Most recently, a book called The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown was published in 2003. The book dealt with a supposed conspiracy about Jesus, and insinuated that the artist himself was a member of a secret society called the Priory of Sion, though there is no evidence that this society has ever existed in real life. A film based on the book, starring Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou, was released in 2006.

Musical Expert is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.

Discussion Comments

By SnowyWinter — On Nov 19, 2010

@stormyknight: Da Vinci is also credited for inventing the scissors. The Romans created the concept of scissors but Da Vinci came up with two separate pieces of metal attached at a central pivot point, used to cut things. Da Vinci designed a movable bridge for the Duke of Milan. He invented the bicycle about 300 hundred years before it ever appeared on the road.

Regarding the Mona Lisa painting, it has been said that it took Da Vinci 10 years to paint her lips. An unusual hypothesis about the Mona Lisa is that it was meant to be a self-portrait of Leonardo as a woman.

By DinoLeash — On Nov 19, 2010

@stormyknight: Leonardo Da Vinci was raised by his single father. It is said that he wrote many of his notes using mirror writing. It is thought that it was to keep his ideas a secret. He is known to have sketched the first helicopter, first repeating rifle, first parachute, first motorcar and the first swinging bridge.

He was very interested in the thought of human flight. He did many studies on the flight of birds and jotted down plans for flying machines. He also made maps of Europe.

By StormyKnight — On Nov 19, 2010

I am taking an art class and have to do an essay on Leonardo Da Vinci. I am trying to find some more information on him. Can anyone contribute anything?

By anon87848 — On Jun 01, 2010

nice website!!

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