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Leonardo da Vinci's
Art Gallery and Media Gallery

Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper (1498, a mural)
Leonardo da Vinci's The Last Supper (1498, a mural)

The Last Supper is a mural painting 15 x 29 feet (460 x 880 centimeters) executed in tempera paint. It covers the back wall of the dining hall at Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan, Italy. The theme was a traditional one for refectories, but Leonardo's interpretation gave it much greater realism and depth. Leonardo began work on The Last Supper in 1495 and completed it in 1498. Leonardo painted The Last Supper on a dry wall rather than on wet plaster, so it is not a true fresco. Because a fresco cannot be modified as the artist works, Leonardo instead chose to seal the stone wall with a layer of pitch, gesso and mastic, then paint onto the sealing layer with tempera. Because of the method used, the piece has not withstood time very well – within a few years of completion it had already begun showing signs of deterioration. Various restoration efforts have been made since the 1700s to combat the effects of time, vandalism, war, and natural calamities.

Leonardo da Vinci's The Mona Lisa (a portrait)
Leonardo da Vinci's The Mona Lisa

Leonardo da Vinci's Most Popular Masterwork

The Mona Lisa (c. 1503-1506), also known as La Gioconda, is a 16th century portrait painted in oil on a poplar panel by Leonardo da Vinci during the Italian Renaissance. The work measures 77 x 53 centimeters (30 x 21 inches), is owned by the Government of France, and is on the wall in the Louvre in Paris, France with the title Portrait of Lisa Gherardini, wife of Francesco del Giocondo. The painting is a half-length portrait and depicts a woman whose expression is often described as enigmatic. The ambiguity of the sitter's expression, the monumentality of the half-figure composition, and the subtle modeling of forms and atmospheric illusionism were novel qualities that have contributed to the painting's continuing fascination. Few other works of art have been subject to as much scrutiny, study, mythologizing, and parody.

A little known fact: The Mona Lisa went on tour in the United States in 1962-1963. For this occasion, its value was assessed for insurance purposes at US$100 million. The insurance was not bought, and instead more money was spent on security. Based on this 1962 estimate, the adjusted value of The Mona Lisa would reach US$700 million in 2009 US Dollars.

 

Leonardo da Vinci's most popular sketch

The Vitruvian Man is a world-renowned drawing created by Leonardo da Vinci around the year 1487. It is accompanied by notes based on the work of Vitruvius, a Roman writer circa 15BC. The drawing, which is in pen and ink on paper, depicts a male figure in two superimposed positions with his arms and legs apart and simultaneously inscribed in a circle and square. The drawing and text are sometimes called the Canon of Proportions or, less often, Proportions of Man. It is stored in the Gallerie dell'Accademia in Venice, Italy, and, like most works on paper, is displayed only occasionally.

The drawing is based on the correlations of ideal human proportions with geometry described by the ancient Roman architect Vitruvius in Book III of his treatise De Architectura. Vitruvius described the human figure as being the principal source of proportion among the Classical orders of architecture. Other artists had attempted to depict the concept, Da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man on the Italian 1-Euro Coinwith less success. The drawing is traditionally named in honour of the architect.

The Vitruvian Man is represented on the Italian
1-Euro coin.

Leonardo da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man (a sketch)
Leonardo da Vinci's The Vitruvian Man
(ca. 1487, a sketch)

Leonardo da Vinci's The Lady with an Ermine
Leonardo da Vinci's The Lady with an Ermine
(ca. 1490, a portrait)

One of Leonardo's Most recognizable Portraits

The small portrait generally called The Lady with the Ermine was painted in oils on wooden panel by Leonardo da Vinci. At the time of its painting, the medium of oil paint was relatively new to Italy, having been introduced in the 1470s. Leonardo was one of those artists who adopted the new medium and skillfully exploited its qualities. The sitter has been identified with reasonable security as Cecilia Gallerani, the sixteen-year-old mistress of Leonardo's employer, Lodovico Sforza, known as Lodovico il Moro, Duke of Milan. The original portrait measures 54 x 39 centimeters (21 x 15 inches), and is on display in the Czartoryski Museum, Kraków (Poland).


Leonardo da Vinci's The Virgin of the Rocks
(ca. 1486, Louvre in Paris)


Leonardo da Vinci's The Virgin of the Rocks
(ca. 1508, National Gallery in London)

Leonardo da Vinci's Twin Paintings that inspired modern-day controversy

The Virgin of the Rocks (sometimes the Madonna of the Rocks) is the usual title used for both of two different paintings with almost identical compositions, which are at least largely by Leonardo da Vinci, with assistance from the brothers Ambrogio and Evangelista de Predis. The paintings are in the Louvre, Paris, and the National Gallery, London. It was originally commissioned in 1483 by the Milanese Confraternity of the Immaculate Conception for their new chapel.

In Dan Brown's 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code, religious controversy was attached to the creation of these paintings. At the heart of the controversy was the question of why 2 paintings with very similar yet markedly different compositions were executed by Da Vinci, citing reasons that the catholic church rejected the first painting (Louvre version). Since then, historians have described the real events behind the twin paintings as such: the painting proved popular -- so popular -- that Leonardo and the de Predises wanted more money than was stipulated in the contract. The church agreed to pay a substantial bonus, but this did not stop the creators from painting a 2nd and (it is speculated, a 3rd) painting to satisfy interested patrons.

Featured video: The Da Vinci Code Trailer

The Da Vinci Code is a 2006 film directed by Ron Howard for Columbia Pictures, based on the bestselling 2003 novel The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It was one of the most anticipated films of 2006. Produced at a cost of US$125 million, it was filmed in France, the United Kingdom, Scotland and Germany, and stars Tom Hanks and Audrey Tautou. The story revolves around a
500-year old secret known to Da Vinci and few others -- a secret the exposition of which would cause far reaching consequences, and for which murders have been committed.

The Da Vinci Code is a resounding Box Office success with gross revenue of US$ 758 million in worldwide release.

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Leonardo da Vinci's Biography &
Geek Symptoms
(part 1 of 2)

Leonardo da Vinci's Biography &
Geek Symptoms
(part 2 of 2)

Leonardo da Vinci's
Milestones in
Ingenuity

Leonardo da Vinci's
Factoids & Trivia

Leonardo da Vinci's
Art Gallery & Other Media

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Navigate to:

Leonardo da Vinci's Biography &
Geek Symptoms
(part 1 of 2)

Leonardo da Vinci's Biography &
Geek Symptoms
(part 2 of 2)

Leonardo da Vinci's
Milestones in
Ingenuity

Leonardo da Vinci's
Factoids & Trivia

Leonardo da Vinci's
Art Gallery & Other Media