THE GREAT ARTIST - Leonardo (1452-1519)
Episode 2: Leonardo (1452-1519)
Leonardo da Vinci’s great masterpiece the Mona Lisa is undoubtedly the most famous painting in the history of art. Yet as is often remarked Leonardo was much more than an artist. He was a scientist, engineer and inventor, a man who drew plans of flying machines and made accurate studies of human anatomy. Yet the ten or more paintings he completed and the many more left unfinished were enough to establish him as one of the towering figures of the Italian Renaissance, alongside his younger contemporaries Michelangelo and Raphael. As well as painting startlingly emotive and intimate religious scenes, Leonardo led the way in two new genres of painting, that of portraiture and history painting. In his methodical approach to art Leonardo developed several significant painting techniques. Leonardo’s genius, not just in art but in science and elsewhere, meant that his was a truly unique contribution to the development of art in Europe.
Works featured in this programme include the Mona Lisa (1503-05, Louvre, Paris) The Last Supper (1495-1498, Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan) The Annuciation (1472-1475, Uffizi Gallery, Florence), Portrait of Ginevra de’Benci (1474-76, National Gallery of Art, Washington), The Virgin of the Rocks (1482-1486, Louvre, Paris) and St. John the Baptist (1513-16, Louvre, Paris).