Friday, July 12, 2013

Fine Art Friday: Leonardo da Vinci

To kick off Fine Art Fridays, I want to feature arguably the greatest artist of all time, Leonardo da Vinci.

Leonardo da Vinci, born near Florence on April 15th, 1452, was a genius of a painter. He studied anatomy, botany, geology, engineering, and architecture, and was an artistic pioneer in his study of perspective and other drawing and painting techniques. His constant study and observation of the world around him, combined with his impressive artistic talent, made him one of the greatest artists the world has ever seen.

One of his most famous pieces, The Mona Lisa, has inspired wonder and awe in viewers from all around the world for centuries.

The Last Supper is another of da Vinci's most famous paintings:

One reason I love Leonardo da Vinci so much, besides his brilliance when it comes to art (and pretty much everything else) is his quirkiness. He wrote notebooks full of his scientific and artistic observations, but they're all super difficult to read because he not only wrote in the old Italian style of his day (and all languages change over time), but his handwriting was mirrored. He wrote every sentence, every word, every letter in reverse! Additionally, da Vinci made designs for flying machines, a revolutionary idea at his time, and he habitually drew the ugliest of caricatures that somehow managed to simultaneously be exaggerated and lifelike. 

On my vacation in Washington, D.C., I went to the National Gallery of Art where I managed to catch a glimpse of the only Leonardo da Vinci painting in the entire western hemisphere, Ginevra de' Benci:

After seeing this incredible painting in person, it now has a special place in my heart. Though I'll always adore  The Mona Lisa and The Last Supper, Ginevra de' Benci is my favorite da Vinci painting.

Do you have a favorite Leornardo da Vinci painting?

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