500 years after Leonardo Da Vinci's death, here's looking at his feud with Michelangelo
It has been 500 years since the death of Renaissance-era genius Leonardo Da Vinci. Both the Italian and French Presidents decided to commemorate him at his tombstone in Amboise, France, on Thursday.
Earlier this year, Italy's interior minister said the "Mona Lisa," one of Da Vinci's most famous artworks, should be returned to Italy. Italian officials retaliated by saying they would refuse to loan any pieces of Da Vinci's art for a massive show scheduled for October. However, they were able to set aside all tension to honor Da Vinci's memory.
Speaking of feuds, it has been 500 years since his death and Da Vinci came from a time period which also saw the likes of Michelangelo and Raphael who were the crux of 15th-century Florentine art. Da Vinci is best known for his artworks - "Mona Lisa" and "Last Supper" - while Michelangelo was best known for the "Pieta", "David", and the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.
Both Michelangelo and Da Vinci had strong personalities with two polar opposite attitudes towards art. Da Vinci was around twenty years senior to Michelangelo and their difference in views led to clashes between the two.
When Da Vinci lost the 'David' commission to Michelangelo, it only fuelled their feud. Their rivalry is considered to be one of the greatest feuds in art history. Stephanie Storey's novel 'Oil and Marble' attempts to imagine their volatile relationship.
Da Vinci was commissioned to produce an altarpiece but was working at a much slower pace than usual while making excuses that, "creating new life [takes] time." In order to show that he was dedicated and had made progress to the friars, he threw a party at his studio.
Michelangelo too attended this party but his brash and shabby attitude only earned Da Vinci's disapproval which led to a lifelong rivalry which was sparked by jealousy, ambition, and of course, some of the most exquisite art the world has ever seen.
Leonardo Da Vinci was born April 15, 1452, and died May 2, 1519, and was a man of many talents. Da Vinci was a painter, sculptor, architect, inventor, military engineer, and draftsman. He was born to respected Florentine notary Ser Piero and a young woman named Caterina. He was raised by his father and his stepmother for a while before living with his uncle and grandparents.
He did not receive anything more than a basic education but his artistic skill was visible from a very early age. By the age of 14, he had already begun an apprenticeship with noted artist Andrea del Verrocchio in Florence and learned many skills such as leather arts, carpentry, drawing, painting and sculpting. By the age of 20, he had qualified as a master artist in Florence and also had his own workshop.
He believed in the accumulation of direct knowledge and facts through observation. Da Vinci wrote, "A good painter has two chief objects to paint — man and the intention of his soul. The former is easy, the latter hard, for it must be expressed by gestures and the movement of the limbs." To show the gestures more clearly, he started to study anatomy and also dissect both human and animal bodies in the 1480s.
He continued to work on his scientific studies until he died at the age of 67. His assistant Melzi had become the principal heir and executor of his estate. Over the next few centuries, his death, pages from his private journals, notes, drawings, and scientific theories have painted a fuller picture of a true "Renaissance Man".
Recently, a newly identified sketch thought to be of Leonardo Da Vinci was made public. This is believed to be the second image of Da Vinci, ever made in his lifetime. It is due to go on public display at Buckingham Palace for the first time.