Tuesday, July 23, 2024

500 years without Leonardo da Vinci: a genius in ten works of art

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Science, civil and military engineering, human anatomy or urban planning, at the head of the Renaissance genius.

Although the most exploited facet of Leonardo da Vinci is that of a painter, the artist’s ingenuity and imagination transcended the world of art and reached fields as diverse as science, civil and military engineering, anatomy or urban planning.

Below, a selection of ten works summarizes the vast curriculum of the Renaissance genius.

La Gioconda : the most enigmatic and the most famous of all. The unknown about the identity of the model, her gesture (smile or indifference?) and the painter’s relationship with the work have made it the most famous painting in the world. It is considered the living testament of the last stage of the artist, the most mystical of all. About ten million people visit it every year.

Vitruvian Man : Leonardo interprets with genius and precision in the human body the ideas about the proportions of the Roman architect Vitruvius. He used the finger, the extremities, the hand or the foot as a unit of measure, to create a whole in which the parts are harmoniously related.

Self-portrait: Da Vinci made many lifestyle drawings during his life. Sketches of paintings, anatomy studies or projections of inventions. Also the only known self-portrait of the artist. The drawing, made with the “sanguine” technique, which gives it a characteristic red tone, shows an elderly-looking Leonardo, with a beard, long hair and numerous wrinkles spread over his face.

The last supper , the moment in which Jesus reveals to his disciples who will betray him, has been portrayed by numerous artists, but none has generated as many theories as the work of Da Vinci. The enigma and mystery surrounding the fresco range from the identity of those portrayed to the position of the hands. The one that brought the most profitability to the painting was the writer Dan Brown, who with his “The Vinci Code” sold more than 80 million copies.

The fetus in the uterus , anatomy studies: Da Vinci handled the scalpel with the same skill as the brush. He dissected corpses throughout his life and portrayed in detail organs such as the brain, the heart or a dissected skull. One of his most famous works is this study (about 1511), drawn in red chalk, showing the uterus during a pregnancy, with a fetus in the breech position.

The lady with the ermine : this captivating portrait of the young Cecilia Gallerani, the lover of Duke Ludovico at only 16 years old, is considered the first truly modern portrait, due to the psychological depth contained in the pose of the ermine. model, half turned, and the expression on her face, full of nuances.

Helicopter Propeller – It’s hard to pick just one of the many inventions that Da Vinci designed in the field of aviation. Among his sketches are an aircraft with curved wings, a glider with moving wings, a parachute or the first horizontal propeller. The latter would be the first step so that, several centuries later, a machine was capable of raising a vertical flight in 1907.

Salvator Mundi : the most expensive work in history (auctioned for 450 million dollars) and also the only one by Da Vinci in private hands. In it you can see a Jesus Christ with a penumbra background, his right hand raised raising two fingers as a sign of blessing and, in the left, a glass sphere. The painter’s image portrays a Jesus Christ as if he were a “human being”, according to experts.

Tank . Perhaps the most unknown of the genius was his facet in the field of weapons. In addition to a giant crossbow, a cannon that fired bullets in various directions, and other war devices, Da Vinci designed a tank similar in shape to a flying saucer, which incorporated wheels that were powered by cranks. . This curious invention and many others can be found in the codices in which he embodied his projects.

Ideal city : the Renaissance genius projected his ideal city away from the old and unhealthy medieval nuclei of narrow streets, formed by tall buildings and underground streets when the excavator had not even been invented. This physiognomy is what many of our cities present today, with subway tunnels and tall apartment buildings.

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