Born on April 15, 1452 as Leonardo di ser Piero Da Vinci, Leornardo was a well-known Italian Renaissance Polymath. He was an endowed genius who was a master in many fields. Highly knowledgable, he was a man of unquenchable curiosity, making him be the epitome of the human Renaissance ideal. He was born in Vinci, the region of Florence, out of wedlock to Piero da Vinci and a peasant woman, Caterina. His early education was in Milan under the tutorship of” Verrocchio”, who was a renowned Florentine painter. He worked extensively in Rome, Bologna and Venice, and finally, in France where he died. He received his formal education in Latin, mathematics and geometry. (O'Malley 66)
Leonardo was a self-taught genius, because his formal education was very basic. Much of what he knew was out of his unquenchable thirst for knowledge, which was from a tender age. He cultivated a spirit of achieving his set goals and working towards them. He was very keen to learn how nature worked, and he achieved this by mimicking nature, learning from it and having a sense of control over it. For him, nature, art and science were inseparable.
Leonardo da Vinci was an exceptional jack of all aces, only that he was a master of all those trades. He sported many titles including: painter, architect, engineer, sculptor, mathematician, anatomist, geologist, philosopher, musician, inventor, botanist, cartographer, and a poet. Widely epitomized as the Renaissance man, he was a being of unquenchable curiosity. He can be considered among the top beings that were most multitalented. (Mason 67) Being a polymath, (a widely knowledgeable person), he trod on grounds that nobody even knew they existed, and set precedents in many fields. During this time, he envisioned the world, as it would be in later years, based on pure logic, rather than some belief, which was the norm during his era. Many of Da Vinci’s works have been documented, thereby, shedding light on the interests and the deepest beliefs of the figure that he was. He was a realist, who was looking for answers, not from what was known, but, from what he could find out or learn. He was one of the very first people to question Biblical stories, like the flood, and offered a different opinion to the reason behind the occurrences.
Michelangelo is arguably one painter whose artwork is comparable to Da Vinci’s work. His painting of “The Creation of Adam” can rival Da Vinci’s artwork of the Mona Lisa, and the Vitruvian man. He was born on 6th March, 1474, 22 years after the birth on Leonardo Da Vinci. (O'Malley 66) His parents gave him to a family of stone cutters, since they could not take care of him. This formed the basis of his sculpture work, since he started cutting stones at a tender age. Like Leonardo, Michelangelo was a genius in many fields, including painting, sculpting, poetry and engineering. His teacher,” Ghirlandaio” taught him everything that he knew on art. Coupled with the teachings of his great teacher and his natural flair for art, he was able to produce some exquisite pieces of art, which were to become renown all over the world, centuries later. While his competitors painted the static picture, he appeared to have movement and expression in them. Unlike Leonardo, who painted on canvas, Michelangelo had a unique type of painting commonly known as,” Fresco”. It involved painting on wet plaster, and it was one of the most complicated and hard methods of painting. He was a master of the method and perfected it in many ways.
He was an avid student of nature and science, just like his predecessor Leonardo, and spent many hours studying it. Through his understanding of nature, he was able to give life to his paintings, a feat that was not meant task, especially during his days. Michelangelo had his own unique style of painting. He usually painted people who were naked. His paintings exuded life from the in that they seemed to jump at the viewer and portray their own sense of personality. His painting were unique, in that whichever direction one was looking at them, it seemed that it was always the right direction. His most acclaimed painting includes the painting of Adam and of God creating the sky and the waters (Apra 28)
Leonardo’s private life was secretive, as it was controversial (Mason 33). Foremost in speculation is his sexuality, which has elicited a lot of controversies. In spite of his greatness and super genius intelligence quotient, he had his fare share of troubles and controversies surrounding his private life. Although, never officially authenticated, he is believed to have been a homosexual, based on a previous encounter with the law, where he was charged with sodomy, during his days, though he was really never convicted.
Iconography was one of the Major modes of communication during Leonardo’s reign. Intricate messages and communiqués were cleverly preserved through iconography. Vinci’s iconography works have elicited a lot of controversies as brought to life by Dan Brown’s bestseller books like the Da Vinci code. The book which has been adapted in to a movie has brought a lot of controversy, especially after it was banned by the Catholic Church, and declared to be untrue. His artwork is believed by some to have contained hidden messages which could only be discerned by a few people.
Leonardo’s work was original, making him stand out from the other geniuses of his time. He had a vivid imagination which was clearly portrayed in his paintings and other pieces of work. He worked on projects that other people thought were impossible, by using his accumulated knowledge that he had acquired over time through experience and scientific experiments. He recreated his fantasies and brought them to life through his paintings. The man was a pioneer in many fields. For example, he was the first person to study the human fetus in greater detail. Due to this, he is considered to be the father of “embryology”, because he shed light on the topic, even at that early time when he was using rudimentary technology. He also came up with the evolution theory, which is fundamentally the same as the Darwinian theory of evolution some three hundred years before Charles Darwin. His discoveries at the time were thought to be impossible, due to the limited technological capability of the time. His hunger for originality saw him coming up with inventions like a flying machine which was almost similar to the Wright brother’s prototype, the military tank and the first scuba diving equipment. His early inventions have greatly influenced some of the contemporary inventions that are used in the everyday life throughout the world.
His most defining, conspicuous and memorable works of art include: the last supper, the Vitruvian man (proportions of the human figure) and the Mona Lisa which have stood the test of time and remained one of the most “perfect pieces of art to have ever graced the face of the earth”. Immensely inspiring and influential, these masterpieces are preserved and displayed in Milan and Paris. The Mona Lisa which is preserved in France at the Louvre is one the most celebrated pieces of artwork in the world over. Also known as the La Giaconda (Named after the presumed name of the husband) the Mona Lisa captures the works of the super genius that Leonardo was. He is believed to have had a special affection for the painting, because he took it with him in his travels.
By 1478 Leonardo had became an independent master in his own right. He was commissioned to paint his first painting, an alter piece of the chapel of Palazzo Vechio. However, he was unable to finish the painting due to the politics of the time. His first large painting was called the “adoration of magi” which he began in 1481.The painting was later to become a legendary artwork, and joined the ranks of other of his world famous paintings like the Mona Lisa. The painting has been adapted into a motion picture called the,” Mona Lisa smile”, which was a hit after it was released into the theaters.
Leonardo’s works have elicited a lot of research, brewing many controversies, as well as shaping many of the contemporary knowledge exercised. He had a natural flair of seeing common things in a different way. In his life, there were three sides of a coin which led him to be a great inventor and discoverer of things. Famed for his paintings, he could paint pieces that oozed of emotion captivated the attention and the imagination of many (Apra 78).
Leonardo Da Vinci was by all means a super genius. His works of art have left an indelible mark in the world. His early inventions have been polished to give rise to the great technologies that are being used in the world in the current times. His inquisitiveness can be copied by anyone who hopes to make a mark in history, just as he did. Until his death, he had shared a lot of information with the world, making it a better place than he found it. No one has been able to achieve the great milestones that that man achieved, and throughout history, he will always remain in a class of his own. His memory and inspirational works have immortalized him forever, because his great works will always bring out the life of the legend that he was. Truly, Leonardo Da Vinci was a super genius.