Artist profile: Leonardo – details

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

Something that I deeply appreciate about most of my favorite artists is their attention to detail. Today I will be talking about three artworks by Leonardo da Vinci that will blow your mind.

Leonardo's angel
Check out those curls.

The Baptism of the Christ (c. 1475)
The majority of this painting was done by Andrea del Verrocchio, the man who taught Leonardo back when most trades had apprenticeships. (Apprenticeships! Bring them back!) However, it is recorded that Leonardo painted the angel on the far left. As is typical of Leonardo, the curls on the angel are spectacular, with hundreds of individual strands catching the light. Check out the round jewels near the angel’s neckline, and how the eye reflects light like a clear pool of water.

The Annunciation by Leonardo and Andrea del Verocchio
The squares will make sense in a minute.

The Annunciation (c. 1472-5)
OMG. This is some crazy stuff right here. Again, Andrea del Verocchio started this painting and then told Leonardo to finish the background and the angel. There are two really amazing sections of the painting.

Sea-side city from The Annunciation

The first, which made me go “WHOAAA” when I first saw it, is the sea-side ciy. Where is this city, you ask? Why, it is in that top square. I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

Mary's hand on a book
What is this language? Dunno.

The second area is Mary’s hand resting on the book’s pages, where you can see some sort of written language and the embroidery on the cloth. Those pages actually look transparent. I’m not sure which artist painted that section, honestly – but it looks pretty sweet.

Angel from the second Madonna of the Rocks

Madonna of the Rocks, London version (between 1486 and 1508)
I will talk about both versions of this painting in a later post, but for now I’d like to point out the angel. S/he shows that same beautiful treatment of light on curly hair as the angel from The Baptism of the Christ. Those curls look super thin and delicate. The eyes, too, reflect light in such a beautiful way. Manga artists do that a lot, but in a painting… oh my. Soooo amazing. Since this was painted with oil paints, I bet it would be even more stunning in person.

Well! My goodness. I’m sure my Leonardo fangirliness has quite annoyed you by now. Join me next week for another googly-eyed post!

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


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