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This is how a period is called that spanned approximately 100 years - from 1420 (but there are quite some discussions upon the actual beginning) to 1500 which is called the Early Renaissance and from 1500 to about 1527 which is called the High Renaissance. Some say that the Renaissance ended with the death of Michelangelo or near the end of the 1500's.

In the High Renaissance a pure, classical balanced harmony was attained and artists of first rank were in absolute control of their techniques, able to render anything they wanted with the maximum of fidelity to nature. It is the mastery of techniques which, with the elimination of superfluous detail, is one of the marks between Early and High Renaissance.

The earlier works of Michelangelo, most of Leonardo's works and the paintings of Raphael and Titian belong to this category.

Leonardo da Vinci

Selfportrait Leonardo da Vinci was one of the greatest of the Universal Men produced by the Renaissance. His intellectual powers were such that he anticipated many later discoveries in anatomy, aeronautics and several other fields, as well as being one of the greatest of Italian Artists.

He was interested in so many things that he seldom finished one enterprise. He almost discovered the circulation of blood, he invented the first amoured fighting vehicle, projected several aircrafts and helicopters and anticipated the submarine, but none of these discoveries were completed. And that is why he left thousands of notes and drawings, but only a handful of paintings, and still fewer completed ones.

Study of Proportions (Vitruvian) He was born at Vinci, the illegitimate son of a Florentine notary, but was brought up in his father's house and trained as a painter. He was a very slow painter, which was unusual in former times. The stories of his slowness in working and his search for psychological expressiveness justified the claims made by later generations which regarded Leonardo as the originator of the idea of the artists as a contemplative and creative thinker, the equal of a philosopher, and not a mere artisan who was paid to cover a certain amount of square yards of wall a day.

One of his few finished works is the portrait of the wife of a Florentine official, known as Mona Lisa or "La Gioconda" (a portrait where you can see the hands of the person which was unusual at that time). Some of his other drawings and paintings are:

Virgin of the Rocks
Madonna (his dewdrops on the crystal vase there astounded his contemporaries)
The Last Supper (which was a wreck in his lifetime already, because he worked with oil based paints instead of the traditional egg tempera paints on the fresh plaster (fresco paintings) and because it took him so long to finish)

Here you can look at one of his most famous paintings:

Mona Lisa

Imagination is the greatest gift of mankind.
Don't let yourself be discouraged by the people
who can't see beyond their very existance.

(That is what comes to my mind, when I look at Leonardo's life and works.)

If this page has made you curious and you want to know more about Leonardo, go to

Or do you want to know why Mona Lisa smiles so secretive and find out what makes her so remarkable in the eyes of the world, then go to a short introduction to this painting.

If you want to go back to the Index of all available periods of art and artists, please click here.

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