Leonardo Da Vinci
By: Anna kahn
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Leonardo Da Vinci Biography:

A Renaissance Master

Leonardo Da Vinci was born on April 15, 1452 in the town of Vinci, Italy. He lived in the time of the renaissance. A little after Da Vinci was born, his mother left him and his father to marry another man and move to another town. At that point, Da Vinci’s father took full custody of him. Da Vinci’s father was a very rich and wealthy man, who lived in a big house in Vinci, Italy. Since Leonardo’s father was so wealthy, Da Vinci had access to the best education there. Leonardo was a very well educated boy, who was exposed to so many things, science, art, math, etc.
When Leonardo Da Vinci was old enough, his father made him an apprentice to the most famous artist and sculptor of his time. That man was Verrochio. As an apprentice to Verrochio, he was exposed to more art. As Verrochio’s assistant, he showed off his talent. Some say he was even better than his master. When he was 20 years old, he was accepted into the painter’s guild of Florence. In 1477 he was accused of sodomy. Later the charges were dropped, after he was publically humiliated. He worked for Verrochio until 1477, when he started to go off and paint by himself.
After Da Vinci left Verrochio, he started to look for new challenges that would make him rich. So, he went to Milan, to work for the duke. The duke kept Leonardo busy. He had Da Vinci sculpt and paint. But that was not only what he had Da Vinci do. He also had Da Vinci sculpt weapons for him. From 1485 to 1490, Da Vinci studied many different subjects. He studied nature, flying machines, geometry, architecture, and much more. In fact, since Da Vinci’s had so many interests, he usually failed to finish what he started. In 1495, he finished another one of his great works called the Last Supper.
At this time, another great painting was created by Leonardo Da Vinci. This was called the Vitruvian Man. Since Da Vinci loved geometry and loved working with 2D and 3D shapes, this painting was a combination of that and his love for anatomy. This painting really showed Da Vinci’s tastes.
Since he was still a painter, and he had so many more interests, he found himself always having trouble finding time to finish all of his paintings and sculptures. He spent most of his time studying nature and science, either by going outside or locking himself away in his study dissecting bodies. Most of his work was done in his study in a notebook that was filled with notes and illustrations about the human body. In 1503, one of Da Vinci’s most famous works was created. This work is known as the Mona Lisa. Everybody loved his work of art.
A year after that, he heard that his father had passed away. From 1513 to 1516, he lived in Rome. He did many paintings and sculptures for the Pope. He continued to study human anatomy. Thought the Pope forbade him from dissecting human bodies, which really hurt him and his studies.
As time passed, he began to paint more, and he began to work for more and more different people. Eventually, Da Vinci became paralyzed in the right hand. Even though that happened, he was still able to paint and teach. He also took an interest in playing the Viola.
Leonardo Da Vinci was a great painter, mathematician, scientist, and many other things. He died on May 2, 1519 when he was 67 years old in France. Legend has it that King Francis was at his side when he died, cradling Leonardo's head in his arms. (www.mos.org)


A Piece of Information That I found Most Interesting about Da Vinci
One of the things that I found interesting about my person was how much he knew, and how much he cared about his work not getting stolen from him. Leonardo would always work in his study, either dissecting bodies, or taking notes in his journal. In his journal would be illustrations of his discoveries and there would be his notes. But his notes weren’t like any notes you see out of a notebook now. These notes were written backwards. Da Vinci was smart enough to create his notes backward so that anybody that looked at them couldn’t read them and couldn’t understand them. The only way to understand them was by holding the notes up to a mirror. This would make it so the notes could be read.(Leonardo Da Vinci, pg 8)

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Da Vinci’s Scientific and Mathematical Contributions:
Leonardo Da Vinci was a true renaissance man. He had many interests; therefore he had many contributions in many different subjects. He had contributions in math, art, science, biology, and more. It has been revealed that Da Vinci studied hydraulics the most according to his notebook. Da Vinci made the first empirical studies of streams and their velocity distribution. His methods of proving his theories were complicated, but accurate, and were very extreme. (www.waterencyclopedia.com)
While Da Vinci was working for the Duke of Milan, he had a lot of time to observe nature. He became an expert on geology (rocks and minerals). He was interested in the idea of moving mountains and putting a tunnel through them. In his notebook, this he labeled as the study of sedimentation. He was the one who explained that the sedimentation in water could erode the rocks. (www.waterencyclopedia.com)
Da Vinci also made many military weapons. It was said that he was told to design them since he was a painter. He also designed some topographical maps. Da Vinci has also made a flying machine, researched the flight of birds, and has tried to square a circle. (www.yankeegardener.com)
He is also a painter. He used math in his paintings though. He used something called the golden ratio, when he painted. It was something to help him with his portraits, and something to help him be symmetrical. (www.mathematicianspictures.com)

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Understanding the Golden Ratio:

The golden ratio is basically Fibonacci’s sequence. The golden ratio (or golden mean or golden rectangle) is a number that is equal to almost 1.6180339887498948482. You would use the Greek letter Phi for this ratio. Like Phi, the golden ratio can go on forever without any numbers repeating.(http://mathforum.org/dr.math/faq/faq.golden.ratio.html)
1 + sqrt{5}
------------
2

Da Vinci used the concept of Fibonacci’s Golden Ratio for his paintings. He used the golden rectangle for his Mona Lisa’s face. In his work of the Last Supper, he used the golden ratio to get the positions of where people were sitting and for the ceiling. For his statue of Athena, he noticed that if the human head is turned sideways illustrates the golden ratio. (http://library.thinkquest.org)

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