Leonardo da Vinci was born on this day in 1452. The world-renowned polymath excelled as a painter, sculptor, architect, designer, theorist, engineer, and scientist, though he was often more interested in the design and exploratory phases of his work than bringing them to completion. Widely recognized as the father of the High Renaissance, even though he was of the same generation as Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510), Domenico Ghirlandaio (1449-94), and Filippino Lippi (1457-1504), rather than Michelangelo (1475-1564) or Raphael (1483-1520). Though Leonardo famously didn’t complete a number of major commissions, those that he did are today some of the most recognizable images of the Italian Renaissance.
Drapery Study, 1470-84, brush and grey distemper on grey canvas, Musée du Louvre, Paris
Adoration of the Magi, 1481-82, oil on panel, Galleria degli Uffizi, Florence
Portrait of Cecilia Gallerani (Lady with an Ermine), 1483-90, oil on wood, Czartoryski Museum, Cracow
Mona Lisa, 1503-5, oil on panel, Musée du Louvre, Paris
Last Supper, 1495-98, mural, refectory, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
Study of St Anne, Mary, the Christ Child and the young St John, 1501-06, lead pencil, pen and ink on paper, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice
Vitruvian Man, 1492. pen, ink, watercolour and metalpoint on paper, Gallerie dell’Accademia, Venice
Study for the Sforza monument, 1488-89, metalpoint on bluish prepared paper, Royal Library, Windsor
Amazing manuscript in the shape of the fleur-de-lis. It is a Book of Hours for the use of Rome, made circa 1555.
(Amiens, Bibliothèque municipale, fonds L’Escalopier 022)
Not your everyday medieval book. I have never seen one like this before. Wonderful display of craftsmanship.
Portraits of Elizabeth I of England from 1546 - 1600.
Like most monarchs of her day, Elizabeth was careful that her portraits depicted her as she wanted to be seen: young, strong and like a man in a woman’s body, so that her people would respect her and accept her as their ruler. Many paintings of the queen in old age present an eternally youthful Elizabeth. She had full control over the distribution of images of herself. In fact, she rarely sat for portraits, so one sitting provided a ‘pattern’ that was then repeated in various forms. Because of this it is hard for us to get an idea of what she really looked like.
In her book “Elizabeth the Queen”, Alison Weir describes the 25 year old Elizabeth as: “tall and slender, with a tiny waist, small bosom and beautiful, long-fingered hands, which it pleased her vanity to display to advantage in a variety of affected poses. She had a swarthy complexion like that of her mother, although she made a habit of whitening it with a lotion made up of egg-whites, powdered egg shell, poppy seeds, borax and alum, which made her face appear white and luminous. She had inherited also Anne Boleyn’s long, thin face, high cheekbones and pointed chin. From her father she had her red naturally curly hair and high, hooked nose.”
Summer Landscape (Woman with a Parasol in a Garden)
Portrait Mary I of England 1554, by Antonis Mor (1519–1575)