Leonardo di ser Piero da Vinci, or just Leonardo da Vinci, was a 15th and 16th century Italian artist, sculptor, inventor, architect, author and engineer. Leonardo da vinci genius of art and science is recognized universally as one of the most supremely talented individuals in history. The term Renaissance Man and Da Vinci are synonymous
Leonard da Vinci two most famous paintings are The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa. They are both iconic works of art of the Renaissance Movement
Da Vinci's Mona Lisa is also known as La Gioconda, and is in fact a portrait of Lisa Gherardini. The portrait was completed during the period 1503 to 1519 at a time when da Vinci was living in Florence. It is a fairly small painting, measuring just 30 in × 21"
In 1911 the Mona Lisa made headlines all over the world when it was stolen from The Louvre Museum in Paris. It was some two years before the painting was finally recovered, having been stolen by an Italian petty thief who had worked at the Louvre for a short period. The thief claimed that he believed the painting rightfully belonged in Italy and in fact he only served a relatively short prison sentence.
In December 1913 Da Vinci's La Gioconda was returned to the Louvre where the Mona Lisa's enigmatic smile is viewed by an estimated 6 million people a year.
da Vinci's The Last Supper is a mural painting which sits at the end wall of the Convent of Milan's Santa Maria delle Grazie and tells the story of The Last Supper with the Twelve Apostles, when Jesus told them that he would be betrayed by one of them.
The Last Supper measures 180 x 350" and was completed around 1496. By 1978 the painting required substantial restoration and a 21 year project was unveiled to the general public in 1999. The restoration was not without controversy as there were substantial changes in tones and color. Senior art critics have expressed their displeasure at some of the changes to the facial features and to the arm of Christ.
In September 2017, Da Vinci's painting of Jesus in renaissance clothing, entitled Salvator Mundi was sold for $450 million by Christies in New York. This set a record as the highest price ever paid for a work of art.
Since the sale, The Salvator Mundi has also been hitting the headlines as its authenticity is probed and questioned. The painting is believed to have been purchased by Saudi's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and it has not been publicly unveiled since the sale.
Whether The Salvator Mundi is entirely Leonardo da Vinci's own work, or whether it was painted in major part by Leonardo's assistants, the fact remains that the face of Christ has all of the haunting and enigmatic hallmarks of the Mona Lisa and its fascinating history will continue to attract speculation for the foreseeable future.
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