Leonardo da Vinci

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Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452, near the town of Vinci. His artistic talent revealed itself early, for he was apprenticed in 1469 to a leading Renaissance master. In the Florence workshop, where he remained until 1476, Leonardo acquired a variety of skills. He entered the painters guild in 1472, and his earliest works date from this time. Works such as the Madonna with the carnation which although are traditional, include detail such as curling hair which only Leonardo could have done.

In 1478 he was asked to paint an altar piece for the Palazzo Vecchio in Florence. Three years later he painted the Adoration of the Magi for the monastery of San Donato a Scopeto. It is the most important of all his early paintings. In it, Leonardo shows for the first time his method of organizing figures into a pyramid shape, so that interest is focused on the principal subject. This project was interrupted when Leonardo left Florence for Milan about 1482. Leonardo worked for Duke Lodovico Sforza in Milan for nearly 18 years. Although he was still an artist, painting portraits, he began to become interested in the mechanic and scientific field. But these interests did not stop him from completing his most famous work, The last supper.

In 1499 Leonardo left Milan to find another job. For about four years, he switched from job to job. He returned to Florence in 1503, and attempted several significant artistic projects, including the Battle of Anghiari mural for the council chamber of the Town Hall, the portrait of Mona Lisa, and the lost Leda and the Swan. Around this time he began to become more involved in anatomy and performed some dissections.

Leonardo returned to Milan in June 1506. He was called to work for the new French government. He remained in Milan for 7 years. The artistic project on which he focused at this time was the equestrian monument to Gian Giacomo Trivulzio, which was also never completed. Around this time he became so involved in science that his art became a reflection of it.
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