LEONARDO DA VINCI
A MAN OF GREAT TALENT INVENTOR, ARTIST AND SCIENTIST
He has been called a Universal Genius having made important discoveries and innovations in the most disparate fields, from mechanical engineering, to science, from anatomy to painting.
Unique, fruitful, and universal genius Leonardo is considered one of the most ingenious and prolific minds of the Renaissance.
Trained in Florence in 1500, and therefore at the height of the Florentine Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci had the extraordinary merit of tackling complex problems and ambitious projects, pursuing, for example, the dream of flying, a recurring desire in man’s thoughts since older era.
In the museum, after years of careful studies and research, starting from the construction of his famous machines and mechanisms, we intended to enhance and highlight the unity of Leonardo’s thought, which is summarized with his mechanistic vision of the world.
For Leonardo, in fact, machines, the human body and the world of nature are governed by the same iron laws. This vision finds expression in a series of masterful drawings that mark the birth of modern scientific illustration.
AN EXTRAORDINARY MAN
Leonardo had immediate fortunes as a painter but over time he was appreciated for his extraordinary personality.
Skilled and affable conversationalist, described by historians as very handsome, tall, well dressed, even extravagantly with clothes that he designed himself, he knew how to range in many genres of human interest.
Legends were born around him, still cultivated today, which find fruitful aspirations in the interpretation of his designs.
Impossible to tell in a few lines the rich and complex existence of this extraordinary man, much has been written about him. We therefore prefer to reveal some details of his personality and his great genius.
Let’s think, for example, of Leonardo’s first work. Vasari, a historian of 1500, says that Leonardo, having to decorate a wooden shield at the request of his father, decided to represent a winged monster as an effigy.
To do it in the most realistic way possible, he combined distinct parts of dead animals and insects, such as lizards, grasshoppers, snakes, and crickets without even noticing the stench they emanated, such was the artistic passion that moved him.
The father, struck by the realism of the work, sold the shield for one hundred ducats to merchants who, in turn, sold it to the Duke of Milan for three hundred ducats.
This was the first known work of Leonardo da Vinci, a work that revealed his aptitude for combining imagination and observation, a gift that accompanied him throughout his life.
Leonardo is a willing and helpful young man and immediately understands that he can redeem himself from his condition as an illegitimate son by learning as much as possible to master the various artistic disciplines: from painting to sculpture, from Goldsmithing to architecture to be able to attend the most important Italian courts.
Which only the best artists could access. In a short time, his skill surpasses that of the master.
Vasari says that Verrocchio, having commissioned the young assistant Leonardo to paint one of the angels of the Baptism of Christ, was amazed by the beauty of the result, so much so that he said he no longer wanted to pick up a brush, almost resentful that a boy she knew more than him.
When Leonardo Da Vinci leaves Verrocchio’s workshop, Ludovico il Moro calls him to Milan.
Curiously, he presents himself as an excellent singer and musician, carrying with him a gold lyre with a bow, built by him, in the shape of a horse’s head.
Here begins a period of intense work, not only artistic, but also technological and military, and Leonardo opens his own workshop surrounding himself with young students.
One in particular catch his attention: the beautiful, but lively and turbulent Gian Giacomo Caprotti known as Salaì, from the term Saladino which means devil.
Often used as a model, he seems to be the one to give the face, in the following years, to San Giovanni Battista.
Among the various and important works commissioned from Leonardo Da Vinci in this period, the stenographic arrangements of the court parties at The Palazzo Sforza stand out for their originality.
One of these, for the celebration of the marriage between Gian Galeazzo Sforza and Isabella d’Este, is the Feast of Paradise, in which the seven known planets then turned, personified by poets who praised the Duchess Isabella.
While dedicating himself to the creation of the famous horse, he also works on the decorations of the Sala delle Asse of the Castello Sforzesco and on the Last Supper in the refectory of Santa Maria delle Grazie.
As a gesture of gratitude for the various works created for Ludovico il Moro, he receives as a gift from him a vineyard of sixteen Milanese “pertica”, about one hectare, in the Porta Vercellina area.
The historical events of the early sixteenth century led Leonardo to pass from one commission to another: from the Medici, lords of Florence, to the powerful Borgias of Rome, up to the Amboise, new governors of Milan.
He broadened his knowledge in the fields of architecture, town planning and hydraulics, even designing innovative solutions to make the Milanese Navigli navigable.
In this period, he is accompanied by Francesco Melzi who will become one of his most faithful students, remaining with him until his death in Amboise. Upon the death of Giuliano de’ Medici, Leonardo accepted the invitation of the French king Francis I, who entrusted him with the task of designing his new royal residence.
Later the King of France offered Leonardo a residence at the Castle of Clos Lucé and an annuity, he admired him as an artist but also as a philosopher.
On April 23, 1519, Leonardo summons the royal notary bureau to dictate his will. He leaves nothing to chance.
He gives a detailed description of his legacies and how his funeral will be carried out, the choice of the church of Saint Florentin in Amboise and the funeral procession that will be opened by the rector and the prior of the church, accompanied by 60 poor people, each with a torch in hand, each of which will be paid 70 money tornesi.
After the ceremony, three large and thirty low masses must be celebrated according to the Gregorian rite.
Each church that celebrates the service will receive ten pounds of wax in large candles.
Leonardo spares no expense and is also the director of his funeral, he dies on May 2, 1519.