Leonardo davinci

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1452-1519, Italian painter, sculptor, architect, musician, engineer, and scientist, probably the supreme example of Renaissance genius. Born in Vinci, Tuscany, he was the illegitimate son of a Florentine notary and a peasant girl. His precocious artistic talent brought him to Verrocchio's workshop in 1466, where he met Botticelli and Ghirlandaio. The cul mination of his art in this first period in Florence is seen in the magnificent, unfinished Adoration of the Magi (Uffizi), with its characteristic dramatic movement and chiaroscuro. In c.1482 Leonardo went to the court of Ludovico Sforza in Milan and there composed most of his Trattato della pittura and the notebooks that demonstrate his versa tile genius. The severe plagues in 1484 and 1485 drew his attention to town planning, and his drawings and plans for domed churches reflect his concern with architectural problems. In 1483, Leonardo and his pupil Ambrogio de Predis were commissioned to execute the famous Madonna of the Rocks (two versions: 1483-c.1486,

Louvre; 1483-1508, National Gall., London). The now badly damaged Last Supper (c.1495-1498; Milan) was executed during the period when he was experimenting with the Fresco medium, and this partly accounts for its damage. Despite this, a sublime spiritual content and power of invention mark it as one of the world's masterpieces. Leonardo's model for an equestrian monument to Francesco Sforza was never cast, and in 1500 he returned to Florence, where he did much theoretical work in mathematics and pursued his anatomical studies in the hospital of Santa Maria Nuova. As a military engineer for Cesare Borgia he studied swamp reclamation and met Niccolò Machiavelli. In c.1503 he executed the celebrated Mona Lisa (Louvre). Then, as architect and engineer in Milan to the French king Louis Xii, he continued his scientific investigations into geology, botany, hydraulics, and mechanics. In...