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Leonardo da Vinci Art Prints and Posters
Ultimate Renaissance multi-skiller and career counsellor's nightmare, Leonardo da Vinci was born in the village of Vinci in Italy, the outcome of some hanky panky between big nob, Ser piero da Vinci and a peasant lass (IQ: 10,000… but tragically unrealised). Some years later, the da Vinci's left Vinci for Florence (causing chaos at the local mail sorting depot) and little bright spark Leo was sent off to the studio of sculptor, painter (and part-time chiropodist) Andrea del Verrochio. His progress was nothing short of meteoric, finally landing a plum position as civil engineer, military planner, architect and court artist to the Duke of Milan.
Despite being such a famous artist and knocking off thousands of drawings, Leonardo only managed to complete a few paintings (came of being on the phone all the time). Two of his most famous works are The Last Supper (a homage to pasta) and the portrait known as La Gioconda, or the Mona Lisa.
It is a widely held and fallacious belief that La Gioconda was the wife of one of his rich patrons. Nothing of the kind. She is actually Leonardo's peasant mother, Lisa. Having been driven up the wall by her remarkable seven-year-old's barrage of questions about art, anatomy, science, architecture and engineering, Lisa suddenly had the brilliant idea of bunging him a junior artist's outfit and getting him to paint her picture. It worked a treat, hence the smile. The Mona Lisa and several of Leo's other works are notable for his accomplished use of chiaroscuro (dramatic light and shade) and the misty, smoky effect known as sfumato (later to be known as sun dried sfumato). Leo died on May 2 1519 (but is planning on reinventing himself).Copyright Michael Cox