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Leonardo da Vinci: How Italy honours his life 500 years after his death

Leonardo da Vinci drawings

Barco Reale and Leonardo da Vinci’s Celebrations

Barco Reale is only a stone away from Vinci. If you’re visiting us in 2019, or if you’re in the region, we highly recommend you to visit the exhibition of the Museo Leonardino. The Museum is only a 10 minute drive from our Campsite in Tuscany.

Leonardo da Vinci 500 years after his death

Italy honors the life of Leonardo 500 years after the day of his death, May 2, 1519. His 500th anniversary will be celebrated on the day of his death as well as throughout the rest of the year. There will be different exhibitions and events throughout Italy and the rest of the world.  

Especially in his birthplace, Vinci, his death will be largely celebrated. The Museo Leonardino is planning an exhibition running from April until June 2019, dedicated to the impact of the local landscapes on his work. The exhibition will portray early drawings lent by the Uffizi museum in Florence, depicting the famous Montalbano hilltops.

Also in Florence, only 50km away from Barco Reale, there are a lot of events going on. At Palazzo Strozzi there will be a big spring exhibition running from March 8 up until July 14. Moreover, several Sheets of Leonardo da Vinci’s Codex Atlanticus will be displayed at the Palazzo Vecchio.   

The Château de Clos Lucé which was Leonardo’s home in the loire hosts a special show that’s running from the first of June until the 2nd of September. The exhibition is based on the monumental tapestry of the Last Supper and will feature around 30 pieces of his work.

Leonardo da Vinci 500 years after his death

On the 2nd of May 2019 Italy and the rest of the world will honor the day, 500 years ago, when Leonardo da Vinci died. There will be a range of activities organized through Italy and Vinci (Leonardo’s birthplace) for much of the year to celebrate the genius’ life. Read on to learn more about the Italian genius and what’s going on for his 500th anniversary.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in a small town named Vinci in Tuscany. A true genius, Leonardo is known as one of the greatest painters in history, an architect, inventor, civil engineering, human anatomy, and a student of all things scientific. He is also known as the genius of the Italian Renaissance or as the Italian Renaissance Man as he crossed so many disciplines in his life.

Today he is most famous for his famous artworks, which we will touch later in this article. The genius believed that Art was directly connected with science and nature. He is also often rewarded as the inventor of different inventions that are still being used today. These claims have now been disputed but his notebooks full with inventions, observations and theories nonetheless show sharp intellect.

Contrary to many people’s believes, Leonardo lived a very regular life. He grew up in a broken family, and had normal education. His father send him to the artist Andrea del Verrocchio at only 15 years old where he received multifaceted training including painting and sculpting. He only started studying advanced sciences and geometry when he was 30 years old, and was largely self-educated.

Leonardo da Vinci: The last supper and the Mona Lisa

Today da Vinci remains best known for his art, including two paintings that remain among the world’s most famous and admired, Mona Lisa and The Last Supper.

The Last Supper

The Last Supper today is one of the most recognized paintings in western art. Leonardo started the work presumably around 1495-96 and was finished in 1498. It was a work commissioned as part of a plan of reconstruction of the Santa Maria delle grazie church in Milan, and is now placed in the refectory of the convent.

The painting represents the Last Supper of Jesus with his apostles as is told in the Gospel of John. The task was not one of the easiest for someone like Leonardo, not being Christian or religious. He must’ve realized this himself as well as, instead of painting full time, he literally threw himself into intensive research. He spent thousands of hours reading gospels, meditating, and studying Christ and his apostles.

Leonardo used a painting technique that was not completely successful. The Last Supper, because of environmental factors, due to the painting methods used, and intentional damage is nowhere near to how it used to be.

The Last Supper from Leonardo da Vinci
The Last Supper from Leonardo da Vinci

The Mona Lisa

The Mona Lisa is one of the most famous and valuable paintings in the world, painted by the Italian Renaissance artist. It is thought to be a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo, named Lisa Gherardini. It is painted between 1513 and 1517, and is currently the property of the French Republic and is at display at the Louvre Museum in Paris.

The title of the painting, in english known as the Mona Lisa, derives from a description of the Renaissance art historian Giorgio Vasari. He wrote: “Leonardo undertook to paint, for Francesco del Giocondo, the portrait of Mona Lisa, his wife”. Mona, in fact, in Italian is the polite way of addressing a woman, similar to “my lady” in English.

The expression of the subject and the atmospheric illusionism are some of the main qualities for which the painting has been fascinating art enthusiasts.

The Mona Lisa from Leonardo da Vinci
The Mona Lisa from Leonardo da Vinci


3 of Leonardo da Vinci's best inventions

Da Vinci is known for his combination of intellect and imagination that allowed him to create, on paper, inventions such as the flying machine, bicycles, and scuba gear.

The self propelled cart (the car)

Leonardo was a pioneer of the machine we now know as a car. He created, on paper, a self-propelled cart that was designed to move without being pushed or pulled. He designed it to be powered by coiled springs, and had a braking system too.

Winged flying machine (the airplane)

Leonardo is widely considered to be the first engineer that must be credited by the invention of the airplane. His designs show how he was inspired by bird and bat wings. His drawings have been influencing the aeroplane industry for the next 400 years.

Diving Equipment

On-land, in-air, and underwater. That’s right, Leonardo even influenced the diving industry. Designed in the 15th century, the purpose of his water suit was to serve as a sleuth weapon to strike invading ships. The design consisted of cane and leather tubes attached to a face mask. His design is still remarkably close to how we know diving equipment nowadays.

Flying Machine Inventions Leonardo da Vinci
Some of Leonardo da Vinci's flying machine inventions


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