Today, April 15, 2020 Leonardo turns 568 years old!
Buon compleanno, Maestro!
One could wax on and on about the genius of Leonardo (and over the years many people have!) how he was an inventor, painter, sculptor, architect and military engineer. He was a gifted man with a curious mind. His intellect knew no bound. Many of his inventions he brought to life, other designs based on sound engineering principals never made it past the drafting stage as he was distracted by another fantastic idea.
Born in 1452 in a farmhouse outside Cerreto Guidi in the town of Vinci to a young peasant woman named Caterina, Leonardo was raised by his father and his stepmother. At the age of fourteen, he began his apprenticeship with the noted artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence.
The noblest pleasure is the joy of understanding.
According to Giorgio Vasari, his contemporary who wrote the Lives of the Most Excellent Painters, Sculptors, and Architects, Verrocchio was so humbled by the superior talent of his pupil that he never picked up a paintbrush again. This, of course, was most likely an embellishment on the part of Vasari… but still, it indicates that at a very early age, Leonardo was quite gifted.
A beautiful body perishes, but a work of art dies not.
At the age of twenty, he qualified for membership as a master artist in Florence’s Guild of Saint Luke and established his own workshop. Throughout his long life he continued to astonish the world with inventions and paintings that are still revered today. Namely, La Gioconda, The Last Supper, and his sketch of the Vitruvian Man.
Blinding ignorance does mislead us.
O! Wretched mortals, open your eyes!
Leonardo is a fascinating character, and he even makes a guest appearance in my novel “Dreaming Sophia” as one of Sophia’s muses.
To learn more about the town of Cerreto Guidi, just a mile away from where Leonardo was born and what happened in a Medici Villa there, I invite you to read “Waking Isabella.”