For the young Florentine painter, Leonardo de Vinci was quite emphatic with portraying things as they were seen. This naturalism was quite apparent in many of his early works and carried out throughout his entire ensemble of pieces that are attributed to his name. Leonardo was fascinated with nature. Many of his earliest sketches are of plants, flowers, and botanicals which are represented with great detail and labor, striving to give them the beauty that he experienced from them. This desire to portray things naturally, or realistically, carried over into his backgrounds, his portrayal of figures, his draperies, and his many other talents; sculpture, sketches, and even making the pigments of the paints he used in order to better represent his figures more realistically.
Many of these characteristics are seen in one of his earliest paintings, Leonardo's 'Annunciation'. From analysis of this painting we can see this young painter's desire to paint naturally, realistically portraying the figures, the background, the flowers, the trees, and the niche in which the Virgin sits.
This painting, although some doubt is totally by the hand of Leonard, shows many of his unique styles. These styles he may have learned in Verrocchio's workshop, however he made his own renditions to these styles. This is apparent in many aspects of the 'Annunciation' as well.
First, by looking at Leonardo's very realistic drapery of the angle and the Virgin we see his attention to naturalism. Leonardo made many drapery studies, many of which we have today, that are very obviously 'redone' in many of his works. By comparing his drapery studies to the drapery of the angle and the Virgin, it is quite evident that they are by the same hand. This style of drapery became a very Leonardesque characteristic of his paintings. This style,