At perfect creation, “the measure of all things.”

At the age of 67, the wise man always living
in the moment died. A quote from Leonardo states “A well-filled day gives a
good sleep. A well-filled life gives a peaceful death.” The influence from the
world around him and knowledge in science, engineering, and art helped him
develop a one of a kind philosophy. There’s no doubt Leonardo da Vinci found most
of his influence through observing the natural world around him. He used his
observations of nature to seek the truth. Growing up in the renaissance helped
Leonardo become a historical artist. People like Andrea del Verrocchio and Niccolo
Machiavelli played perfect role models for Leonardo da Vinci growing up.
Verrocchio developed Leonardo da Vinci’s artistic talent into full potential. When
Verrocchio noticed Leonardo had surpassed his skills he did the right thing and
passed over the torch. Niccolo Machiavelli was the first to influence Leonardo
to think politically and start landscaping for engineering projects. Leonardo’s
environment kept him formulating new ideas. Future Scientists, artists, philosophers,
and engineers take all of Leonardo da Vinci’s accomplishments and use it for

In 1503, Leonardo da Vinci began working
on the Mona Lisa. This extraordinary
painting was a unique piece of art. In the painting Leonardo ties together, humanity
with nature. Humanity and nature are the two most influential things in Leonardo’s
artistic life. According to Leonardo, man was nature’s most perfect creation,
“the measure of all things.” The scenery of rivers from his sketches
are incorporated into the background of the Mona
Lisa. It’s rumored that the Mona Lisa
might be someone Leonardo da Vinci lusts for. In 1506, the French governor
called on Leonardo da Vinci to come back to Milan, where he would become the
court painter and engineer to King Louis XII of France. Leonardo needed someone
to who allow him freedom to explore his own ideas. Moving back allowed him to
work freely and spend more time on his multiple engineering projects. While
living in France, Leonardo opened a substantially sized workshop with multiple
assistants and apprentices. Eventually Leonardo started to age and with no
major art projects to work on he tended to focus on his engineering and
scientific studies.

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Last Supper is Leonardo’s most iconic piece of religious
artwork. Leonardo da Vinci painted The Last
Supper for the Duke of Milan. The
Last Supper is in The Bible and
is one of the most referenced events in all of Christianity. The painting pictures
an image of Jesus with all his apostles sitting around him at the dinner table.
Each apostle is displaying their different emotions because Jesus says one apostle
will betray him. Since a young boy, Leonardo da Vinci remembers having an
interest in the religious artwork at his church. Although The Last Supper represents the past, Leonardo took inspiration from
his present day. The Last supper has
influenced many modern artists to create their own version of the dinner.

Niccolo Machiavelli was a political
observer for the city of Florence. Machiavelli was the first one to spark Leonardo
da Vinci’s curiosity for politics. They both wanted to help advance
civilization. During Leonardo’s da Vinci time, Niccolo Machiavelli, was known
as a renowned writer and political thinker. Leonardo da Vinci wanted to help Machiavelli
build a substantial waterworks project that would make Florence more water accessible
by building a system of canals for economic and military purposes. In addition,
Leonardo worked on installing irrigation that would bring water to farmers. Their
goal was to build Florence into the most powerful city in Italy. While working
on this project Leonardo da Vinci learned how to survey and take measurements
of land. His maps of canals flowing through valleys and mountains set the foundation
for modern cartography. Unfortunately, Leonardo and Machiavelli’s water project
would be abandoned because it kept getting destroyed by floods. Throughout his
work Leonardo gained tremendous knowledge of geology. Leonardo had the ability
to create visualizations of what natural forms of land looked like from space.

Andrea Del Verrocchio was a popular painter,
sculptor, and goldsmith in the renaissance city of Florence. Verrocchio had a
profound influence on multiple renaissance artists. Young artists were
attracted to Verrocchio’s studio because it allowed creative thinking. Leonardo
da Vinci would eventually spend years working in Verrocchio’s studio. When Leonardo
was twenty years old he was accepted into the San Luca guild of painters. Leonardo
began his professional career but still stayed in contact with the Verrocchio
studio for several more years. Once Leonardo da Vinci finished his
apprenticeship he began painting in a more sculptural style.. It doesn’t take
long for Leonardo to learn how to tie in density and transparency in his
paintings. It is said that Verrocchio assigned Leonardo to paint an angel in a
painting he was working on, “The Baptism of Christ.” Once Verrocchio saw how
Leonardo handled the light and shadow, he was convinced his young student had
possessed supreme artistic talent. Andrea Del Verrocchio felt that he needed to
pass the torch. Verrocchio influenced multiple creations of the Renaissance and
continued to have an influence Leonardo da Vinci.

            One year after moving into his
father’s household, Leonardo’s father moved the family to Florence. Before
moving, Leonardo became inspired to one day become an artist after seeing the
religious artwork in his local churches. Leonardo was working
for the Medici family at the age of just fifteen and showing great potential to
be a painter. Piero da Vinci was a highly respected figure in the Florence
community. In 1467, Leonardo’s father employed him to work for Andrea del
Verrocchio, the most well-known artist in Florence. Verrocchio’s art/engineering
studio brought together the best young artistic talent of Italy. Shadowing the
famous artist on extensive art projects helped Leonardo form his dedicated skillset.
Early in his artistic career he began studying the human body, landscapes,
animals, and plants intensely in his search to understand all-natural things.
Leonardo da Vinci saw the world as a living entity, with all its elements in a
constant rate of change. He believed a true artist first visualizes ideas in
his mind and then puts them into his hands. The scientific method was an
important part to Leonardo’s everyday life, including his art and music. An
interest in nature led Leonardo to start observing and asking scientific
questions like, “How do birds fly?” Leonardo da Vinci’s first speculation was
that one could fly if a machine imitated the way birds flap their wings. Every
one of Leonardo’s observations was recorded and sketched out in a journal. His goal
as an artist was to remake the feeling of nature in his art. Much of his
artwork ties together the natural world to the human body. Leonardo always had
a fascination for water. One day he noticed a similarity in the way water would
flow in a stream as it does in veins. Leonardo admired the sense of sight
because it’s the “window of the soul.” The human eye is the key for speculating
how life works. The human body was a major influence for Leonardo da Vinci’s
artwork and philosophy.

            Leonardo da Vinci
has many accomplishments as a sculptor, architect, philosopher, engineer, and
scientist, but was he influenced by past civilizations or his present day? In
my opinion, his environment growing up is what influenced him to become such a
great artist. Leonardo’s unique and innovative mind is what separates him from
other renaissance artists that imitated artwork from past civilizations. During
the time, Ancient Greek and Roman culture was used as an inspiration for the
renaissance art, science, and philosophy. A lot of renaissance artists would
try to emulate classical Greek architecture in their sculptures, but Leonardo
was different. Leonardo da Vinci was born in Tuscany, Italy, in 1452.
He always had an interest and respect for nature and animals. His childhood was
spent exploring the hills and forests to observe animals. Leonardo’s earliest
childhood memory happened when a bird flew into his crib, influencing him to
pursue the dream of flying. As a young boy he had a fascination for all-natural
things. Leonardo’s
father; Piero da Vinci was a wealthy businessman and land owner with lots of powerful
friends. His father provided him with a good education growing up. Early on,
Leonardo was exposed to his families long painting tradition and displayed
signs of being a gifted artist with a very curious mind. Piero
da Vinci, Verrocchio, and Machiavelli are just a few influential figures that
surrounded him growing up. From my observations, Leonardo da Vinci was always
in the moment thinking of new ideas. Most of his ideas were formulated through
the influence of the natural world.