Thirty years before he painted the Mona Lisa, Leonardo’s first non-religious painting was a portrait of another woman – Ginevra de’Benci. He was only 21, but already his genius was showing. This portrait broke new ground in several important ways. Who was Ginevra and why did he paint her portrait?
In addition to working with his old master, Verrocchio, on painting in the 1470s, Leonardo also produced at least four paintings mostly on his own. The Annunciation, two Madonnas and a portrait of Ginevra de’ Benci. In these paintings we can see the young master innovating, experimenting and even making some mistakes.
Leonardo’s earliest surviving work of art is a landscape sketch of Vinci in his notebook dating from 1473 when he was 21 years old. The earliest surviving painting is BAPTISM OF CHRIST, a collaboration with his old master, Verrocchio (as seen in Marketing The Messiah). On this episode, we go deep on both works of art, looking at what made Leonardo da Vinci different from his contemporaries.
Leonardo’s first known artwork is a Frankenstein monster and he invents sfumato.
We examine Leonardo’s writing style, and his apprenticeship at age 14 to Andrea del Verrocchio, an Italian painter, sculptor, and goldsmith, because even geniuses need a master to learn from (despite what The Queen’s Gambit will have you believe).
“Extraordinary power … conjoined with remarkable facility, a mind of regal boldness and magnanimous daring.” That’s how Vasari described Leonardo da Vinci. But how much do we really know about the world’s most famous artist? And how much of what we think we know is myth?