Monday, April 15, 2013
April 15 - Leonardo da Vinci
Renaissance polymath Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452, in the hill town of Vinci in the Republic of Florence. He was the illegitimate son of a wealthy legal notary. His manifold interests in the laws of science and nature are reflected in his works as a painter, sculptor, inventor and draftsman. Da Vinci's name is now virtually synonymous with the "Mona Lisa," a painting he began between 1505 and 1507. The sitter is almost certainly Lisa del Giocondo, wife of a wealthy Florentine silk merchant, who probably commissioned the work to celebrate the birth of their second son. The Italian name for the painting, “La Gioconda,” means “happy" or "jovial" (literally "the jocund one"), a pun on the feminine form of the sitter's married name. Da Vinci never delivered the painting. Near the end of his life, in 1516, he was invited by King François I of France to work near his chateau in the Loire Valley, where he apparently continued to rework the portrait that is now considered beautifully odd and mysterious.