Happy Birthday, Leonardo da Vinci

Firenze, Italia
Firenze, Italia

April 15th marks the birth of Leonardo da Vinci.  Historians and scholars have given him the title, Renaissance Man, because of his breadth and depth of knowledge from architecture to paleontology, botany to engineering, geology to astronomy, and much more. Many have written about his brilliance, but what I find most remarkable is his humanity.  Leonardo da Vinci, with his insatiable curiosity, pursued knowledge with a zeal that produced enormous outcomes that continue to influence our world.

The Annunciation, which is located in the Uffizi, Florence, is one of my favourites.  The scene is based on Luke 1:26-36 which announces the coming of Jesus.

“The angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God.”

Luke 1:30

Leonardo_da_Vinci_-_Annunciazione_-_Google_Art_Project
Leonardo da Vinci – Annunciazione – Google Art Project

When you look back over 500 years, there can be a few issues relating to attribution.  It was originally thought to be a work by another artist of that time.  Now, the experts believe that it was a collaboration between Leonardo and his mentor, Andrea di Cione aka Verrocchio.

Here’s where it becomes interesting:

Leonardo received instructions to finish the angel and the background, which he did using paint without lead.  Verrocchio, on the other hand, used lead-based paint.  Leonardo’s brush strokes were light, whereas Verrocchio preferred to use heavy brush strokes.  When the Annunciation was x-rayed, Leonardo’s angel was invisible.  How very like Leonardo to add dramatic flair to the event.

Happy Birthday Leonardo.  You are my reminder to cultivate a curious mind, to search for the unknown and work with a glad heart to generate good things.  As you said, centuries ago:

“Time stays long enough for anyone who will use it.”

8 Comments

  1. Resa

    Happy Birthday Leonardo! I’m enjoying a glass of wine, so I raise my glass to you, and taste the grape. Ah, that was tasty. it’s a lovely wine, and perhaps great wines are art? Another toast to you Rebecca for this fab post, and your enduring love of art.

    1. Clanmother

      I am so very glad that you joined the party. Can you imagine the amount of curiosity in one person? He must have been active from morning to night. Great wines are indeed an creative endeavour! How was the tulip festival??!!

  2. ernstblumenstein

    ” Beobachte das Schwimmen der Fische im Wasser und du wirst den Flug der Vögel in der Luft begreifen. ” Leonardo da Vinci.
    Ich mag seine Malerei. Er war ein grossartiger und genialer Gelehrter. Liebe Grüsse

    1. Clanmother

      Ich bin damit einverstanden – er war wirklich bemerkenswert . Ich versuche, ihn als Kind vorzustellen. Wusste er, dass er in der Lage war, die Dinge anders zu sehen? hatte er keine Freunde? Wir wissen, was er getan hat, aber wir wirklich wissen, ihn nicht als Person. Das ist, was mich fasziniert, über Kunst. Der Versuch, die Geschichte des Künstlers zu finden.

      Thank you so much for your comments – they are very much appreciated!!

  3. Ms Frances

    Great new details of Leonardo DaVinci’s life. Imagine his tendency to procrastinate! Should be encouraging for those of us with the same problem. He must have used this time wisely though–perhaps he used the time he “wasted” to think of new things. Even though there are those who don’t appreciate art as others do, everyone knows about Leonardo! I love the surprised look on Mary’s face and the human “look” of the angel–the wings give this heavenly messenger his special look. Interesting–anyone today who is considered widely talented is referred to as a “renaissance” man or woman.

    1. Clanmother

      I agree – the expressions on the faces of Mary and the Angel give a sense of surprise and elation. That is the power of creativity – we see our emotional responses reflected in the art form. And we form a bond of sorts, whether we like or dislike the art. It is hard to be indifferent. I am certain that Leonardo used his time wisely. I can’t imagine anyone trying to harness his genius.

    1. Clanmother

      What a treasure those books are!! I always smile when I read that Leonardo had a tendency to procrastinate, but I have always considered that in the midst of his procrastination, he was really exploring something new. Happy World Art Day, my dear friend. You exemplify the spirit of artistic endeavour in every one of your posts!!

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