Artist profile: Leonardo da Vinci

Every month, I profile an artist that inspires my own art, in several segments.

Leonardo da Vinci self portrait
He is well-embrowed.

One of my favorite periods in art history is the Renaissance – specifically in Italy. There is a vibrancy and life in Italian Renaissance art that I simply don’t see in most art in the more northern regions of Europe. (Feel free to direct me to examples that prove me wrong.)
The most talented of all the Italian Renaissance artists (I’m not budging on this) is Leonardo da Vinci. I first fell in love with his art when I was in fifth grade. There was this project I had to do, and I was like, “Ugh, why’d I get assigned this joker from the 1500s?” Who was this guy? I didn’t care. Whatever.

And then I actually started researching – in books because I didn’t use the internet back then – and I was like “Whoa, this guy is awesome @u@”. Ever since then, I always stop to look at a Leonardo, whether online, in a bookstore, or wherever else it might pop up!

What I love about Leonardo’s style

  • incredible use of light
  • extreme attention to detail
  • composition
  • fascinating backgrounds
  • beauty of his ideal portraits
  • androgyny of many of his ideal male portraits
  • mystery: not the “OMG Mona Lisa’s smile is sooooo mysterious”, but the sense in many of his paintings that there’s something behind them.
    How it’s affected my style
    Leonardo’s extremely well-developed ability to paint and draw realistically (photorealism) is the foundation of my art preferences. I deeply respect this ability and, when I choose to, strive to achieve it. I try to pay attention to light, to have proportional figures, and be as detailed as possible. And I’m bothered by my impatience with backgrounds – Leonardo makes me want to do them… but they suck up so much time! But I want to do them.

    Oh, Leonardo. I know he’s the most written-about artist in the world and I sound all fan-girly, but… well, I hope to bring a somewhat-unique view of his work in my brief posts.

    Endnote: “da Vinci” just means he was from Vinci. Don’t use da Vinci as his last name – say Leonardo instead. Bonus: you’ll sound like he’s your best friend.

    Other parts in the Leonardo da Vinci artist profile series
    Madonna of the Rocks



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