Leonardo Da Vinci's Art: Lesson for Kids

Instructor: Nola Bridgens

Nola has taught elementary school and tutored for four years. She has a bachelor's degree in Elementary Education, a master's degree in Marketing, and is a certified teacher.

Are you curious? Do you like to discover new things and test new ideas? Leonardo da Vinci did and it led him to become one of the most brilliant painters of all time. This lesson will teach you about da Vinci and the incredible artwork he created.

Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo da Vinci was born in 1452 in Italy and lived with his father and stepmother. As a teenager, he started a long apprenticeship with the famous artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence. An apprentice is someone who learns from an expert in a particular trade. Da Vinci learned about all different types of art from Verrocchio, such as carpentry, sculpting and painting.

Leonardo da Vinci
da vinci

When he was 20, da Vinci became a master artist at Florence's Guild of Saint Luke and he opened his own workshop. During this time he continued to work closely with Verrocchio and helped complete Verrocchio's famous painting Baptism of Christ around 1475. The story goes that Verrocchio was so humbled by da Vinci's exceptional talent was that he never painted again.

Combination of Art and Science

Da Vinci had a unique style of combining art and science. He was very curious and enjoyed learning and studying. Da Vinci was the first artist to study anatomy as it relates to art and created people that looked real and proportionate.

Throughout his lifetime, da Vinci filled dozens of notebooks with his sketches, the most famous being the Vitruvian Man, which is a male in two positions inside a square and a circle. His sketches were very advanced for his time and some of them resembled bicycles, helicopters, and airplanes, which of course weren't invented until centuries later, in some cases.

In his studies, da Vinci noticed that objects were not just outlines, but three-dimensional objects that were defined by light and shadow. He was the first artist to perfect a technique called chiaroscuro, which uses shadowing to make a person in a painting look three dimensional.

Da Vinci also noticed that objects changed color as they receded into the distance. The technique he began using to blend the shadows of objects and people to make them appear closer or farther away is called sfumato.

Da Vinci's Famous Works

While da Vinci was in Milan, he was commissioned to make a painting for the church of San Francesco Grande titled Virgin of the Rocks. The painting, which adorned the altarpiece of the church, is of the Virgin Mary and the baby Jesus.

In 1495, da Vinci was commissioned to paint The Last Supper, a painting of Jesus and the twelve apostles, which would become one of his most famous works. He painted it on the dining room wall of the monastery of Santa Maria delle Grazie in Milan and it measures a massive 15 x 29 feet. His use of chiaroscuro and sfumato are especially impressive in this piece.

The Last Supper
last supper

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