The Last Supper, one of da Vinci's most famous paintings.


Leonardo da Vinci was a supreme example of a Renaissance genius who possessed one of the greatest minds of all times.


Da Vinci was born April 15, 1452, and died May 2, 1519. He would wear pink to make his complexion look fresher. Leonardo never attended public school. He was raised by his single father. When Leonardo was fifteen he joined the studio af Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence. Leonardo had no interest in women; he spent most of his time painting. Five years later he became a member of the guild of St. Luke, a painters' guild in Florence. Four years later he worked as an independent artist at his own studio in Florence.

In 1483 he started to paint the first version of theVirgin. He finished it in 1485. In 1495 he made a clay model for the statue of Francesco Forza, and put it on display. In 1486 he began to explore human flight. In 1500 he went to Mantua.

Da Vinci studied philosophy, natural history, anatomy, biology, medicine, optics, acoustics, science, mathematics and hydraulics.


Da Vinci was an architect, musician, engineer, scientist and inventor. He sketched the first parachute, first helicopter, first aeroplane, first tank, first repeating rifle, swinging bridge, paddle boat and first motor car. Da Vinci designed machines of war as well. He was one of the first artists to sketch outdoor portraits. Da Vinci was a sculptor and designer of costumes. He was also a mathematician and a botanist.

When he was twenty-one he painted the Annunication. In 1481 da Vinci painted The Adoration of the Magi. In 1475 da Vinci painted an angel in Verrocchio's Baptism of Christ. One of Leonardo's greatest pieces of art was the Mona Lisa, (1404) which was famous for her mysterious smile when piano music played. The Mona Lisa took Leonardo six years to complete. After he was done the painting the King of France bought it. Leonardo did not want to part with the portrait, so the King of France let him keep it in his studio until he died. Another famous painting was The Last Supper, which was painted in 1495. It has become the most famous painting in the world. Leonardo was also very proud of his Self Portrait, which he painted it in 1515, four years before he died.


Da Vinci drew the first relaxed portraits with misty landscapes in the background. He used warm and passionate colours to create the misty look on the landscapes. Da Vinci had a different way of painting with mixing colours. Da Vinci did not put eyebrows on his painting.

Da Vinci changed the way people painted and made sculptures. Da Vinci was famous for the way he used light in his portraits. It seemed as if you could see into the soul of the paintings.

Da Vinci's Mona Lisa
"Did you know the Mona Lisa has no eyebrows?"


1. Mason, Antony. Famous Artist. London, Watts Books, 1993, pp. 2, 4, 6 and 10.

2. Reid, William. The Renaissance. Maine, J. Weston Walch Inc., 1972, pp. 16-18 and 23.

3. Ripley, Elizabeth. Leonardo da Vinci. U.S.A, Henry Z Walck Inc., 1952, pp. 14, 21-22.

This page was prepared by Jamie and Christie, Grade 8, Riverdale Junior Secondary School.