(1452-1519) Italian painter, sculptor, architect, engineer, and scientist.
One of the greatest figures of the Italian Renaissance, he was active in Florence, Milan, and, from 1516, France. As state engineer and court painter to the duke of Milan, he painted the Last Supper mural about 1495 (Sta Maria delle Grazie, Milan), and on his return to Florence painted the Mona Lisa (Louvre, Paris) about 1503–06. His notebooks and drawings show an immensely inventive and inquiring mind, studying aspects of the natural world from anatomy to aerodynamics.
Leonardo's inventions ranged from complex cranes to pulley systems, lathes, drilling machines, a paddlewheel boat, and an underwater breathing apparatus. As a military engineer he was responsible for the construction of assault machines, pontoons, a steam cannon, and a tortoise-shaped tank. For a castle in Milan he created a forced-air central heating system and also a water-pumping mechanism.
Leonardo was born in Vinci, Tuscany, and studied under the painter Verrocchio in Florence in the 1470s. His earliest dated work is a sketch of the Tuscan countryside 1473 (Uffizi, Florence); other early works include drawings, portraits, and religious scenes, such as the unfinished Adoration of the Magi (Uffizi), commissioned 1481. About 1482 he went to the court of Lodovico Sforza in Milan and was involved in hydraulic and mechanical engineering. In 1500 he returned to Florence (where he was architect and engineer to Cesare Borgia 1502, designing and developing fortifications), and to Milan 1506. He went to France 1516 and died at Château de Cloux, near Amboise, on the river Loire.
He influenced many of his contemporary artists, including Michelangelo, Raphael, Giorgione, and Bramante. Leonardo revolutionized painting style. Instead of a white background, he used a dark one to allow the overlying color a more three-dimensional existence. He developed the use of “aerial perspective”, whereby the misty atmosphere changes the colors of the landscape as it dissolves into the distance, and sfumato, the blurring of outlines through the use of subtle gradations of tone—both give his pictures their characteristic air of mystery. His principle of grouping figures within an imaginary pyramid, linked by their gestures and facial expressions, became a High Renaissance compositional rule. His two versions of the Madonna and child with St Anne, Madonna of the Rocks (Louvre, Paris, and National Gallery, London) exemplify all these ideas. Other chief works include the Mona Lisa (wife of Francesco del Giocondo, hence also known as La Gioconda) and the Battle of Anghiari 1504–05, formerly in the Palazzo
Principally between 1490 and 1495, Leonardo produced his notebooks, in mirror writing. The illustrated treatises deal with painting, architecture, anatomy, and mechanics. The last dates from the late 1490s (Biblioteca Nacional, Madrid). In it Leonardo proposes his theory of mechanics, illustrated with sketches of machines and such tools as gear, hydraulic jacks, and screw-cutting machines, with explanations of their functions and mechanical principles and of the concepts of friction and resistance. He studied the flight of birds and designed the prototypes of a parachute and a flying machine. His studies of the properties of water were carried out about 1503 when he was planning a ship canal.
Italijanski slikar, naučnik i inženjer.