Monday, March 23, 2015

Artist of the Week: Leonardo da Vinci Italian Artist 1452-1519

Two of Leonardo da Vinci's works, the "Mona Lisa" and "The Last Supper", are the most famous, most reproduced and most parodied portrait and religious painting of all time, respectively, their fame approached only by Michelangelo's Creation of Adam. Leonardo da Vinci's drawing of the Vitruvian Man is also regarded as a cultural icon, being reproduced on everything from the Euro to text books to t-shirts. Perhaps fifteen of Leonardo da Vinci's paintings survive, the small number due to his constant, and frequently disastrous, experimentation with new techniques, and his chronic procrastination. Nevertheless, these few works, together with his notebooks, which contain drawings, scientific diagrams, and his thoughts on the nature of painting, comprise a contribution to later generations of artists only rivaled by that of his contemporary, Michelangelo.

A remarkable fact in the life of Leonardo da Vinci was his impeachment in 1476. At this time it was a common practice of handing out anonymous accusations in a wooden box in front of the Palazzo Vecchio. Leonardo da Vinci was charged, together with three other men, of homosexual conduct. All defendants however were acquitted because of lack of evidence. That Leonardo da Vinci was homosexual now is generally accepted though.

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