The word genius is passed around a lot in the 21st century. From sports stars to actors, it seems that being labelled a genius has somewhat lost its value. Whoever you regard as a genius, its difficult to argue against the genius of the great polymath Leonardo Da Vinci.
The skills of Da Vinci were so widespread that some people often remember him more as an engineer, botanist or philosopher rather than an artist. At ArtDaily
, we are under no doubt as to the importance of DaVinci the artist and due to this, we thought that we would take a look at our favourite paintings by Leonardo Da Vinci.
Madonna of the Carnation (1478)
The Virgin Mary is arguably the most painted figure in art history. In his lifetime, the Virgin Mary appeared in well over 10 different paintings by DaVinci with one of our favourites being the Madonna of the Carnation. This painting features the young Virgin Mary with the baby Jesus on her lap. The faces of both figures are put into light whilst their surroundings are shaded whilst the baby Christ struggles to grab the passion held by his mother.
This is thought to be DaVincis first autonomous work
and can be viewed at the Alte Pinakothek in Munich.
Mona Lisa (1503)
What more can be said about Da Vincis magnum opus that has not already been said. The Mona Lisa is widely regarded as the most prized art work in existence with a valuation of more than $850 million
. In 1962, the masterpiece was insured for $100 million, the record for the highest ever insurance value in the art market.
Despite the painter's Italian heritage, the Mona Lisa is held at the Louvre in Paris. Critics argue widely as to where the Mona Lisa was originally painted. Some believe it was painted in Florence whilst others say France. However, what is certain is that a pupil of Da Vinci (Andrea Salai) sold the Mona Lisa to King Francis the first of France for 4,000 gold coins. The painting has been owned by the French government ever since. In 1911, a Lovre worker called Vincenzo Peruggia stole the painting and took it back to Italy before the authorities caught up with him and the painting was returned to Paris, two years later in 1913. The scandal which was created by the theft helped to gain public attention to the Mona Lisa and is one of the reasons why it is so well known today in 2022.
The Last Supper (1498)
Another Da Vinci masterpiece which needs no introduction is the Last Supper. The painting represents Jesus last meal with the 12 apostles, specifically the point in which he tells them that one of them will betray him. The masterpieces' handling of space, perspective and display of human emotion make The Last Supper one of the most widely recognised paintings in the world.
The location of The Last Supper is at the Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan. Unfortunately, little of the original painting remains today despite numerous attempted restorations.
Salvator Mundi (1500)
In 2017, Salvator Mundi became the most expensive painting ever sold at public auction. Salvator Mundi was bought for $450.3 million by Prince Badr bin Abdullah of Saudi Arabia. The current location of the painting is unknown, however. The painting was expected to be put on display at the Louvre Abu Dhabi but its showing was cancelled in 2018. A report in 2019 stated that the painting was on the yacht of the Saudi Arabian Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman but a later report stated that it was being kept in storage in Switzerland.
Regardless of where it is, the painting depicts Christ in an anachronistic blue Renaissance dress. He is making the sign of the cross with his right hand and holding a transparent crystal orb in his left which signals his role as Salvator Mundi. Salvator Mundi is Latin for Saviour of the World. Other artists including Jan van Eyck, Hans Memling, Albrecht Dürer and Titian made the theme popular before Da Vinci.
The face and hair of Christ in the painting have been extensively repainted, this is also quite noticeable too.
Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk (1512)
Thought to be a self portrait, it is thought that Da Vinci drew a Portrait of a Red Man in Chalk at the age of 60. In the excellent and famous self help book Think Like Da Vinci
, the author teaches an easy way in which anyone can copy the Portrait of a Man in Red Chalk using pencil lines.
The portrait depicts an elderly man with long hair and a white beard, although it is disputed as to whether it was painted by the maestro himself. Many critics claim that the drawing depicts a man far older than the age Da Vinci ever achieved himself - Leonardo died at the age of 67. The assumption that the drawing was a self portrait was made in the 19th century as it was thought to be consistent with other drawings made by Leonardo.
Leonardo Da Vinci in Modern Culture
The scope of Leonardos genius is unprecedented to the extent that tech tycoon Bill Gates purchased one of Da Vincis diaries for an eyewatering $28million
in 1994. In 2022, Leonard is revered as one of the greatest human beings to have ever been born. Hundreds of books have been devoted to the man himself, as well as films and other modern day inventions such as the Helicopter. There are even video games inspired by him including some of the newest online slots games
which use Da Vinci as a title character - Da Vinci Diamonds being one. Family Guy also dedicated one of their episodes to him where Stewie and Brian must stop Stewies evil twin from killing Da Vinci!