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Art History Assignment

Leonardo Da Vinci

There are people who have changed the world through art and transformed the meaning of success. These individuals, such as Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1599), have attained stature in it. He was a famous Italian prodigy and, conceivably, a gentleman of infinite inquisitiveness and resourceful cognizance (Art, 2020). Leonardo Da Vinci’s talents empowered him to attain vast achievements in different fields, comprising geology, art, writing, botany, engineering, anatomy, and architecture. The essay analyzes the contributions of Leonardo da Vinci to realism.

However, regardless of his varied talents, Leonardo Da Vinci is celebrated for his contributions to art, primarily painting, through which he created some of the most renowned paintings, for instance, The Last Supper, the Vitruvian Man, and the Mona Lisa. Additionally, being the bastard son of a solicitor and a crofter lady did little to dent Leonardo’s pursuit to shine in different fields of painting, science, and technology. Leonardo da Vinci was the most significant Renaissance artist.

Background History

Leonardo was brought up in Italy, and being an illegitimate son, he was protected by his family members, his father, and his wives. Leonardo began his education during his younger days and was trained by Andrea di Cione (Verrocchio), one of the greatest artists of his era. According to Charles River Editors (2017), at Andrea di Cione’s workshop, Leonardo spent his time learning the laws of science and nature, which was a continuation of his education after he completed his informal education in geometry and mathematics. Learning at Andrea di Cione’s workshop gave him essential experience and art exposure. Leonardo gradually and progressively transformed into a very experienced artist, which earned him the status of a legend in ancient art.

Greatest Works of Leonardo Da Vinci

In the modern era, most of Leonardo’s most outstanding works are in painting compared to science and technology. The Last Supper is one of his famous works completed in the 1490s. This piece of art portrays Jesus’ last events along with the twelve disciples, and precisely at the instance where he recapped them, one of them would inform him (Bayer et al., 2004). The Mona Lisa is the other famous piece of art created by Leonardo Da Vinci, which he created during the 1500s. The painting is considered one of the most celebrated in the modern world. The Picture of a Fetus in the Womb and the Vitruvian Man are examples of Leonardo’s paintings of science and technology.

Leonardo was a prodigy and an accurate Renaissance man because of his wide-ranging aptitudes, which protracted and surpassed his work in art. Emulating the paths of other Renaissance artists of his era, Leonardo was intensely curious about creating an association between art and science (Bayer et al., 2004). Hence, Leonardo had diverse interests in science and technology, mainly in optics, anatomy, and fluid mechanics, where he invented unique creations. Thus, Leonardo’s interests in science and technology significantly impacted his works of art.

The School of Art

The Renaissance generated realism as an aftereffect of art, allowing artists to design new forms of realist emotive portraits, such as Leonardo’s work with the Last Supper, the Mona Lisa, and how he uses light and gloom in his art. In the arts, realism is the precise, minute, unadorned representation of the natural world or modern life. The romanticism of the thoughts is vetoed by realism in support of demanding scrutiny of external appearances. For instance, Gurney (2009) argues that the Last Supper exhibited numerous original realist sentiments through art design. The portrait portrayed Jesus’ last moments with his disciples. Jesus is tranquil and comparatively more prominent than his disciples, displaying his significance in the piece of art. This portrait is critical as it presents the event in which Jesus told his disciples that among them, one would inform him. Judas is signified as an unpleasant character isolated in the darkness, where he seized a pucker that encompassed the bribe he received for betraying Jesus, the Son of God (Gurney, 2009). Each disciple was depicted with a different expression on their appearance; lexes of uncertainty, distress, and surprise wandered their faces.

Leonardo wrote in his notebook that “a depiction of human characters should be completed in a manner that the observer might simply identify by means of their perspectives and the purposes of their thoughts” (Gurney, 2009). Therefore, this quote displays how Leonardo sought to position realism in his portraits, and it is evident that he followed this statute with The Last Supper. It was the first instance where the power of realism was intended to illustrate the last supper at which Jesus banqueted. Leonardo employed the technique of sfumato and the disappearing point method to create a sense of space within the piece of art. Leonardo’s innovative work of art revealed how the Renaissance and the utility of realism could give life to critical concepts, such as The Last Supper. It allowed Leonardo to generate a very pleasing and emotive piece of art.

The Renaissance effect of realism motivated Leonardo to employ light and shadows to make his creations into stoic inventions. The description of Le Belle Ferronièrre was resplendent with light and shadow methods, and the painting was of a lady in the Sforza court (Landrus, 2009). The lady’s chin and neck were enclosed by shadow, but right next to that, the light that sprang off her smooth shoulder onto her left jaw produced a floodlit light.

Gurney (2009) points out that the realism of his artwork is an outcome of Leonardo’s expanded scientific observations. He invented a mathematical structure for defining size in space, which was influenced by his studies in human anatomy. The perspective is fused within how Mona Lisa’s head, eyes, and upper body are each twisted more toward the observer. Mona Lisa muddled viewers with her partial or possibly no smile. Her appearance was fixed in a realistic way that presented emotional change (Gurney, 2009). The smile conveyed a feeling of sensation, and viewers asked what Mona could be thinking about. The Mona Lisa was depicted in mid-expression; however, she appeared deep in thought when Leonardo was creating the painting.

The parallels between Leonardo’s and Raphael’s styles in articulating their ideas and portraying Renaissance reality as they viewed it can be effortlessly outlined when associating Leonardo’s Mona Lisa with some of Raphael’s other early artworks (Spielvogel, 2014). Furthermore, these were also the creations and the color troupe that expressed these comparisons. The awareness of the clear connection between the creations of the two legends may materialize as one likens the attitude of Raphael’s several Madonnas to Leonardo’s “wander tune.”

The esthetics of an array of Raphael’s creations of the Renaissance bear a discrete similarity to those of Michelangelo’s statues. However, they are not as clear as the resemblances between Leonardo’s and Raphael’s works (Gurney, 2009). The particulars that concur with Raphael’s and Michelangelo’s creations offer realistic insights. It is extraordinary that Michelangelo and Raphael were competitors at the time. Nevertheless, because of their enmity, they shared standard fundamentals within their creations, particularly in their appearance style. However, the resemblances in Michelangelo’s and Raphael’s artworks expanded far beyond the stylistics and general esthetics of the portraits. Like Michelangelo, Raphael appeared motivated to generate his unique istoria, which gave birth to a rare depiction of conventional Biblical notions.

On the other hand, during the Renaissance, Donatello created this statue of David. Because of its realism and accuracy, the bronze sculpture of David impresses onlookers. There are several remarkable aspects to this piece of art. The size of Goliath’s head, which David is standing on at the beginning of the story since David’s sword has severed it, clearly shows that a giant is a well-built man (Taylor, 2018). David is also decked out in flip-flops and a cap on his head. A person is interested in the sculpture because of how violently it is shown. The cap on David’s head indicates he is gazing down and ecstatic about his victory rather than showing any sorrow.


A genuine Renaissance realist and humanist, Leonardo promoted human causes that resulted in the greatest good for all. Given that he invented some of his biggest artistic and scientific advancements and was the first to employ some of the well-known painting techniques, his contributions to art and science are particularly noteworthy. Lastly, Leonardo’s efforts to link art and science have won him the privilege of still being researched today because his concepts are so intriguing.


Art, M. (2020). Oil painting: A contemporary guide to realistic oil painting, UNDERPAINTINGS, layering and direct painting methods for beginners. Jan Matěják.

Bayer, A., Gregori, M., & Metropolitan Museum of Art. (2004). Painters of reality: The legacy of Leonardo and Caravaggio in Lombardy. Metropolitan Museum of Art.

Charles River Editors. (2017). The top 5 greatest artists: Leonardo, Michelangelo, Raphael, Vincent van Gogh, and Pablo Picasso. Createspace Independent Publishing Platform.

Gurney, J. (2009). Imaginative realism: How to paint what doesn’t exist. Andrews McMeel Publishing.

Landrus, M. H. (2009). Leonardo da Vinci: The Genius, his work, and the Renaissance.

Spielvogel, J. J. (2014). Western civilization: Volume I: To 1715. Cengage Learning.

Taylor, D. C. (2018). The Renaissance artists: With history projects for kids. Early Medieval North Atlantic.


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