Sunday, April 15, 2012

The Birthday of a Genius- Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci
Five hundred sixty years ago (April 15, 1452) a genius was born and his name was Leonardo. He was born in the little Tuscan village of Vinci, the illegitimate son of a notary and a peasant girl. A painter, architect, inventor, engineer, mathematician and scientist his genius lives on undiminished today. He is believed to have conceived a flying machine, armored car, a calculator, the parachute . After a long career at the service of Ludovico Sforza, Duke of Milan he went to serve the Republic of Venice as well as Cesare Borgia as a military engineer.

 Leonardo came to France in 1515 at the the invitation of king Francois I and settled at Manor of Clos Luce in Amboise where he lived for three years till his death in 1519. The Clos Luce is a museum today with 40 models of the various machines designed by Leonardo.  

Virgin and Child with St. Anne
Restoration of the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne 
When Leonardo da Vinci came to France he brought with him three of his most important works Mona Lisa, The Virgin and Child with Saint Anne, and the Saint John the Baptist. Th├Ęse masterpieces are part of the Louvre's permanent collection. A special exhibit featuring the restoration of the Virgin and Child with Saint Anne highlights the painter' s mastery of light . The restoration took 18 months to complete and has brought back the intense luminosity and vibrant browns and lapis lazuli hues used by the master. Saint Anne, Leonardo da Vinci's Ultimate Masterpiece is on view from March 29 to June 25.

Also on display is a restored copy of the Mona Lisa on loan from the Prado Museum.  It is believed to have been executed simultaneously to the original Gioconda by a pupil of Leonardo in his workshop.

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