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Leonardo da Vinci (April 15, 1452-May 2, 1519) is the paradigm of a Renaissance man, or polymath. A painter, sculptor, engineer, inventor, mathematician, scientist, architect, botanist, writer, musician, and anatomist, da Vinci is widely considered to be one of the greatest artists in the history of art. Primarily renowned for his paintings and drawings, da Vinci was influential during the High Renaissance, living and working in Florence, Milan, Roman, Bologna, and Venice. In addition to his incredible contributions to painting, he has recently been praised for his technological ingenuity, as his inventions and discoveries range from advances in anatomy and physiology to the conceptualization of helicopters. 500 years after the height of his career, da Vinci remains the subject of relentless curiosity and admiration. His Mona Lisa, Last Supper, Vitruvian Man, and John the Baptist are some of the most iconic images today, and cannot be ignored as emblems of the Western artistic tradition.
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In the Convent of Santa Maria della Grazie in Milan, Italy is one of the worldÕs most famous murals: Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper. Painted between 1495 and 1498, da Vinci's mural covers an entire wall in the dining hall of the monastery, and is one of the most iconic images in the history of art. Depicting Christ and the Twelve Disciples at the biblical Last Supper, it was commissioned by Ludovico Sforza as the centerpiece of the Sforza family mausoleum. The moment captured in the painting, purportedly, captures the reactions of all of the disciples after Christ reveals that one of them would betray him. The subject of a great deal of speculation and mystery, da Vinci's Last Supper has captivated its audience for hundreds of years, and is one of the keystones of the Western art historical canon.