Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci, perhaps the greatest man in history, invented thousands of things
including the helicopter, tank and portable bridge. Leonardo was not only an inventor
,but a sculptor, an artist and an architect. He was born 1452 in the small town of Vinci
,in Tuscany. His father was a wealthy notary and his mother a peasant woman. In the
mid 1460s the family moved to Florence here he was given the best education Florence
could offer. He advanced rapidly socially and intellectually . He was very handsome and
a fine musician.

About 1482 Leonardo entered the service of the duke of Milan. Due to a recommendation
stating that he could build portable bridges and knew techniques in constructing canons,
ships and catapults as well as other weapons. He served as principle engineer in the
duke’s military projects. In 1502 Leonardo entered the service of Cesare Borgia, duke of
Romagna. He served as Cesare’s chief architect and engineer. Leonardo supervised work
on the fortresses of the papal territories in central Italy. In 1506 Leonardo went to Milan
again at the summons of its French governor Charles d’Amboise. For the next six years
he divided his time between Milan and Florence. He still continued his engineering
projects and worked on a figure for a monument to a commander of the French forces in
the city.

Although Leonardo produced a small number of paintings he was an influent artist. The
Mona Lisa, his most famous work, is a great example of two techniques sfumato and
chiaroscuro of which he was one of the first great masters. Because none of Leonardo’s
sculptural projects were brought to completion, his approach to three dimensional art can
only be judged by his drawings.

As a scientist he towered over his generation. His scientific theories were based on
careful observation and precise documentation. His theories are contained in many
notebooks, most of which were written in mirror script. Leonardo’s findings were not
discovered in his own lifetime. If they had been published they would have
revolutionized the science of the 6th century. Leonardo anticipated many discoveries of
modern times. For instance he learned the effect of the moon on the tides.

Category: Biographies