The man of the Renaissance, Leonardo, died 500 years ago. Four centuries ahead –


Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the village of Anchiano, about three kilometers from Vinci. Father was notary Piero da Vinci, mother of girl near Caterina Lippi. He was baptized in the presence of ten godparents, as the book writes Leonardo da Vinci, Take Offs of the Mind by Charles Nicholla, an author who specializes in historical biographies.

Today's researcher can no longer be a "Renaissance man" like Leonardo.Martin Zlatohlávek, art historian

A year later, his mother married a man named Accattabrigo, while Leonardo's father married a daughter of a notary from Florence four months earlier. But he recognized him as his own and assured him of a general education. Leonardo spent his childhood in Vinci, attended a merchant school, otherwise he was self-taught and supposedly reading a lot in Latin.

Beginnings in a Florentine workshop

At the age of 15, he became a traveler in the Florentine workshop of Verrocchio, five years later he was already a member of the painter's guild. At that time, he painted the face of the angel and landscape in the background of the image of Verrocchio Baptism of Christ. It was customary for a master to draw only the basic layout of the image and the main character with his students finishing the work.

Verrocchio was so impressed by the perfection of Leonardo's painting that he only proposed the unfolding of the other paintings, the rest of the work remained in the pupils and all faces were painted by Leonardo. In 1473 he created a drawing of the landscape, which was his first signed and dated work, then came the painting Annunciation.

Tridimensionality as an innovation of art

At the age of 30, in 1482, he accepted the invitation of Duke Lodovik Sforza to Milan. He began to write a diary and studied anatomy and architecture for himself. In those years, he gathered around him a group of followers, some of whom remained faithful to him until the end of his life.

Around 1483, Leonardo began his studies of aerodynamics and physics, anatomy, meteorology, astronomy and cosmography. He was interested in Pythagorean mathematics, which he soon learned and made of it the basis of his own research. He used his findings through scientific research to drastically affect the composition of paintings.

Vitruvian man

Vitruvian man


Around 1490 he drew Vitruvian man, one of his most famous drawings, which expresses the belief that the beauty of man and the world is based on the proportions of the human body. The ability to combine art with science was best expressed by this iconic drawing of a perfectly proportional figure, with arms and legs scattered within the square.

At the same time, he painted i Lady with an Ermine and in 1495 he began to work on mural painting Last supper in the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie. He used new techniques with temper and oil. In addition, he used a triangular composition in the image with an illusion of variable perspective. It's your "second most famous painting," if we can say that.

Last supper

Last supper


After the Milan period, return to Florence

In 1499, Leonardo returned to Florence because the Sforz were expelled from Milan. In Florence in 1502 he began to work as a military engineer for the politician, warrior and Cardinal Cesar Borgia. But he offered his services as an engineer and inventor in other places.

His most famous photo, Monu LisaHe began working in 1503 in Florence and worked on it for the rest of his life, although, according to experts, mostly from 1503 to 1506. He used the knowledge of the physiology of vision to create the most memorable smile in the world.

Mona Lisa

Mona Lisa


His other important paintings include Madonna on the rocks. He created a space that suggested the question of Baroque painting. Leonardo worked with chiaroscuro and subtle transitions of light effects, and thanks to his work, three-dimensionality became the greatest innovation of Renaissance art. He created a brilliant painting style, unique at the time. However, it may be that Da Vinci seems to have narrowed his eyes.

Not even the form of da Vinci is known, although it is assumed that the drawing of an old bearded and hairy man be his face from old age.

In 1506 he returned to Milan, where he spent the next seven years, in 1513 moved to Rome, where he lived in the palace of Guiliana de Medici (the younger brother of then Pope Leo X) and how his protege received a regular salary, which was for Leonard, who until then, despite his fame, often faced poverty, a welcome change.

There he created an iconic drawing of Turin, a possible self-portrait. From 1516 until his death at Clos Lucé, near Amboise at the age of 67, he lived in France – at the invitation of King Francis I of Valois.

He was not happy with what we knew

What can be considered its basic characteristic? "Leonardo was not happy with what was already known about the world and man, he was still delving into his discoveries and observations." He then applied his knowledge to creation. That's why it brought together researchers and creators, "said art historian Martin Zlatohlávek, an associate professor at the Institute of Art History at the Faculty of Philosophy at Charles University in Prague, told Novinky.

How has he been so versatile enough to go beyond his time several times? Geniuses are sometimes born in the history of mankind, but according to Zlatohlavek, Leonardo had the advantage that all science, especially biology, human science, mechanics, and others, was just beginning, and he could explore everything he was interested in .

"Today's researcher must first deal with the knowledge of his predecessors and then put together something new, which greatly limits research and leads to a consistent specialization. Today's researcher can no longer be a "Renaissance man" like Leonardo, "explained a Czech Renaissance expert who also works at the Institute of History of Christian Art at Charles Catholic Theological College.

Zlatohlávek considers his greatest reference to humanity as the fact that he freely accepted the known truth and was not influenced by ideologies.

New discoveries about Leonardo

When we look at information not very well known or rather new about Leonard in terms of art, it is known from written sources that he painted other paintings that were destroyed or not yet discovered.

"Recently, he was credited with a photo Christ Pantokrator and sold for a lot of money. But many experts disagree. More defined is Portrait of a girl, which was discovered and published about 10 years ago, is now in a private collection, "Zlatohlávek told Novinky.

This is considered the most likely self-portrait of an Italian master.

This is considered the most likely self-portrait of an Italian master.


"Leonardo also designed sculptures, but none are still known. He is credited with a riding statuette in Budapest, but there are also questions about his own. Even its shape is unknown, although it is assumed that the drawing of a bearded and hairy old man be his face from the age. But it's not right, "Zlatohlavek said.

There are currently only about 15 images that are totally or partially attributed to it. In November of 2017 the image of him Salvator Mundi (The Savior of the World) it became the most expensive work of art when it auctioned $ 450.3 million ($ 9.8 billion) at Christie's New York auction house. Its owner was the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia, Muhammad bin Salman.

Apparently, Prague Castle had Lady with an Ermine

And is there any meaningful work in the Czech Republic – or in the Czech lands in general? "In the inventory of the collections of Prague Castle of 1621, there is a picture that is probably Leonard's. Lady with an ErmineToday he is in a museum in Krakow, "said Lubomír Konečný of the Institute of Art History of the Czech Academy of Sciences.

Leonardo da Vinci painted the Lady with the Ermine in 1483-90 and presents Cecília Gallerani, the lover of the ruler of Milan.

Leonardo da Vinci painted the Lady with the Ermine in 1483-90 and presents Cecília Gallerani, the lover of the ruler of Milan.

PHOTO: archive, Právo

"In addition, according to some inventories, the Bishop of Olomouc, Liechtenstein Castelcorn, had his drawing of an unknown subject. Nothing is known about other paintings and drawings of Leonard (let alone sculptures) in our public and private collections" , added Zlatohlávek.

It is true that we do not know any of Leonardo's preserved architectural works. He left many plans for his various buildings in his notebooks, but probably did not implement any of them.

Inventions of Leonardo

Leonardo had a good idea of ​​planetary motion, gravity, and blood circulation. As an inventor, he predicted or proposed the principle of excavators, centrifuges, blowers, wheeled boats, airplanes, parachutes, slotted pipes, pedal lathes, printing presses, taps and taps or weaving machines. He drew a series of sketches, plans, or inventions that were made in the 19th or 20th centuries.

During his lifetime, he tried to write several books about various areas of his knowledge. But your grades are very fragmented. Its 7,000-page literary reference has been widely explored and is known to have prepared a masterpiece of anatomy, painting, nature, light and shadow.

Looking at some of his inventions in more detail, da Vinci has created detailed bird flight studies and plans to build several flying machines, including a four person helicopter. At the same time, there is a sketch of a flying machine with a rudder precisely crafted in his notes. On January 3, 1496, he unsuccessfully attempted a flying machine that he designed.

Leonardo's drawing of a flying machine

Leonardo's drawing of a flying machine


Flying machine built according to Leonardo's drawing

Flying machine built according to Leonardo's drawing


He also invented the wind speed anemometer, the wind direction anemometer, and the inclinometer to check the horizontal position during the flight.

His journals also include various military inventions, such as machine guns, armored tanks with humans and horsepower, or cluster bombs – although he considered war the worst. He built the equivalent of a weapon, which had the ability to adjust angle and height, was mobile and usable in combat. He cleaned the medieval drawings and improved the battering ram.

The tank designed by Leonardo looked like a huge donut on wheels. He should hasten the ranks of enemies, separate them, and cover his own soldiers. The marksmen at the top of the conical tower were fired from the guns as they advanced. The wooden tank, protected by metal plates, should propel eight men, who would be trapped inside the crank, whose movement would be transmitted to the wheels.

It took more than four centuries for similar tanks to rise. The first came into action in 1916 at the Battle of the Somme during World War I and went on as Leonardo had once suggested.

Other inventions include a submarine, cogwheel gear (something like a first mechanical calculator) and a spring-loaded car. During his stay at the Vatican, he planned the industrial use of solar energy using parabolic mirrors to heat the water.

He also invented a space suit, elaborating his studies on his studies, although it consisted only of a bell on his head and floating fins. Only later did he think of a leather suit. He also designed a drill that consisted of a warhead, a roller mechanism, and a crank. One of the most funky inventions of his time is the bicycle.

In 1476 he was accused of homosexual contacts and interrogated. A group of friends, among whom he should be, should be with a young prostitute. This act was illegal, could also be punished with death. Fortunately, the son of an influential Florentine citizen was also among the defendants, and the process was interrupted and the actors escaped only with corporal punishment.

This experience led Leonardo to stop trusting and closing, apparently because of his most widely used inventions.

He was also a musician – he controlled the lute. Not much has also contributed to emphasizing animal rights, according to The Guardian, which was probably related to their possible vegetarian diet.

The most curious person in history

According to American journalist and writer Walter Isaacson, who wrote a monograph on Leonardo in 2017, Da Vinci never fits. "He was an illegitimate, gay, vegetarian, left-handed and sometimes heretic," Isaacson said.

"The most curious person in history," added the British art historian Kenneth Clark many years ago.

"Leonardo really was something like this. curious explorer (inquisitive researcher), "added Professor of Ultimate Art History.

Between the lines, the hidden face is possible by the self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

Between the lines, the hidden face is possible by the self-portrait of Leonardo da Vinci.

PHOTO: Reuters

He was enthusiastic, had a true religious respect for nature, but was not always perfect in art and science. He did not even finish many paintings, as he did Adoration of the Magi (although signed contract) a Saint Jerome, as well as inventions. But that does not change the fact that he was a unique genius.

The fifteenth century of Leonardo, but also of Columbus and Gutenberg, was a period of invention, discovery and dissemination of knowledge by new technologies. The Renaissance ideal was the most talented and educated individual most versatile but apparently no one was able to perfectly combine his knowledge of the numerous fields of science with art and architecture like Leonardo.


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