The genius of da Vinci 1

Leonardo da Vinci, a Renaissance man born in Italy in 1452, considered as one of the greatest painters the world has ever witnessed, was not just a painter but a man of great intellect. His scientific journals and studies way ahead of their time are to this date used by scientists to get a better understanding of them . In addition to being a painter, a sculptor, he was an anatomist and was well known in the field of engineering, architecture and astronomy as well. da Vinci was unmatched, the only artist who was able to get close to his art was the sculptor of the statue David Michelangelo. The fascinating thing is that he was able to do all this without being exposed to a speck of formal education or training in any field except in painting. He was taught how to read and do basic mathematics all the rest was his own creation.

Leonardo was a genius to say the least, he possessed curiosity ever so great. Maybe, this is what made him so great, his desire for knowledge.                                                                   

His scientific evaluations and anatomic studies are very much evident in his paintings. He used his scientific knowledge to better himself as an artist, and so he did.                                     

Here, we are going to take a look at a few of his paintings and some of his contributions in the milieu of science.

Leonardo da Vinci was born in a town in Vinci, Florence. His father was a Florence based legal notary and his mother belonged to a lower class. Not much is known about his family.

PAINTINGS

Leonardo is undoubtedly one of the greatest artists to have ever lived, but where did he start his artistic journey from?

Leonardo worked as an apprentice under Andrea del Verrocchio, an Italian painter, and sculptor of the 15th century. Leonardo first got introduced to Verrocchio at one of his workshops. He learned a plethora of skills by working for Verrocchio and later also collaborated with him for a painting called The Baptism of Christ around 1475.

Baptism of Christ was a collaborative effort of Andrea del Verrocchio and his student Leonardo da Vinci. This painting depicts Jesus being baptized (the Christian act of sprinkling water on someone, symbolizing purification), with two angels beside him, kneeling. The one performing Jesus’ baptism is John the Baptist, who can be seen with a golden cross and a halo over his head. The pair of hands shown above Jesus’ head is God’s representing approval and acceptance. A dove can also be seen above Jesus’ head as well, symbolizing the Holy Spirit.

Saint Jerome in the Wilderness Another unfinished yet wonderful piece by da Vinci portrays Saint Jerome, a Latin priest in the Christian Church, in the middle of the desert, kneeling, looking fixedly upwards with his arm extending outwards. A lion can be seen resting on the ground looking at the Saint. The lion’s presence can be accounted for by the fact that Saint Jerome helped a lion that entered the monastery where he stayed once, by removing a thorn from the lion’s paw.                                                                                                              

Leonardo used a method called tempera for this painting, which involves mixing of painting pigments with water-soluble emulsions, along with classic oil painting techniques.                                                                                     

This painting is currently present at the Vatican museum in Rome.