Famous Illustrators: Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo-tI-manuscript

While Leonardo da Vinci’s name is synonymous with “artist,” he’s seldom associated with the word “illustrator.” And yet, he was. Perhaps it’s another reason to consider him a “Renaissance man”. In the late 1490’s when Leonardo was living and working in Milan in the court of Duke Lodovico Sforza, he created ink and watercolor illustrations for a book by Luca Pacioli entitled De Divina Proportione (On Divine Proportion). Pacioli, also working for the duke, was a Franciscan friar and mathematician and together they created a book about mathematical and artistic proportion, a topic that Pacioli and da Vinci shared great interest in.

.Picture 1

For De Divina Proportione, Leonardo created 60 drawings of polyhedrons, seen as solid forms in perspective. The complex images speak well for the artist’s reputation as a visual genius. His drawings were translated into woodblock prints for the book’s publication in Venice, in 1509. Only two copies of the original text survive.

leonardo-elevID-manuscript

Further Observation

At the time that Leonardo da Vinci created his illustrations, he was working on another commission as well, and that one would become far better known: The Last Supper. In that painting, created for the wall of a refectory of a Dominican convent (Santa Maria delle Grazie), the artist also addresses precise proportion, this time in a dramatic one-point perspective leading to Christ’s head.

Last-Supper-By-Leonardo-da-Vinci1

Further Further Observation

The famous “M” logo for the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, is taken from De Divina Proportione.

225ecd9b7f2e50cefc54a60df1af4a99_1M.pngMet_Art_museum_M

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