Leonardo Da Vinci lived one of the most remarkable lives known to man, despite his humble beginnings. Da Vinci was born illegitimate on April 15th, 1452 in the town of Vinci. He received very little education because of his illegitimate status, so most of his early learning was through observation. Growing up with his father, an attorney, and his stepmother, he would inherit nothing of his father’s estate. He wrote left handed and backward during his youth, but he continued to learn because of his curiosity.
At 14 years of age, a young Leonardo Da Vinci accepted an apprenticeship to the artist Andrea di Cione, commonly known as Verrocchio. Although Leonardo was talented, professional trade unions were not open to illegitimate sons. Six years later, Verrocchio allowed Da Vinci to paint his own piece, “The Baptism of Christ.” He painted an angel in the top left corner of the work and amazed all who looked upon it.
By age 24, Da Vinci’s talent brought him legitimacy. The Guild of Saint Luke made him a master in the Guild of Artists, despite his lacking birthright. His talent overshadowed his origins. Despite his unfortunate circumstances, Da Vinci became known later as the “Renaissance Man.”
Leonardo Da Vinci’s genius surpassed his artistic talent. Da Vinci explored multiple areas of study through observation and through art. He is most known for his works of art, engineering, architecture, and science.
Only observation is the key to understanding
I would do things no one in the past dare to do.
“…the first memory of my childhood is that it seemed to me, when I was in my cradle, that a kite came to me, and opened my mouth with its tail, and struck me several times with its tail inside my lips. That bird seems to me now to have pointed me to my destiny.”
I had long since observed that people of accomplishment rarely sat back and let things happen to them. They went out and happened to things.
Learning never exhausts the mind.
“As a well-spent day brings happy sleep, so a life well spent brings happy death.”
Da Vinci spent his final years as “Premier Painter and Engineer and Architect to the King” under French ruler Francis I. For three years, he lived in a country manor in France and painted at his leisure. He died at age 67 in 1519. Da Vinci’s rags-to-riches story illustrates how a love for learning can change a life and change the world.
Photos via wikiart.org and wikipedia.org
We’d love to recommend few books:
Leonardo’s Notebooks: Writing and Art of the Great Master.
Leonardo and the Last Supper. Leonardo created the masterpiece that would forever define him. The author unveils dozens of stories that are embedded in the painting.