We finally get to the most famous painting in the world. He started it in Florence in 1503, and it was still in his studio when he died in 1519. Who was she? Why did he agree to paint her when he declined many other opportunities to pick up a brush? And why is it so famous?
In the last decade of his life, Leonardo became obsessed with painting erect fingers, especially on very sexy depictions of “St John the Baptist”. What do the fingers represent? We can only imagine…
On this episode we focus on the later life of Leonardo da Vinci, examining his self-portrayals, and his relationship with the Medici family. We delve into Leonardo’s image as an “iconic venerable sage” and questions the authenticity of his self-portraits.
Then we look at Leonardo’s move to Rome in 1513, under the patronage of Giovanni de’ Medici, who became Pope Leo X, and his brother Giuliano. He resided in the Villa Belvedere, a hub for intellectuals and artists during the Renaissance, and immersed himself in studying rare plants and fossils. Despite being in an artistic environment, Leonardo is still reluctant to paint, focusing more on the sciences and engineering.
While Leonardo tries to work out why the sky is blue, a Sforza is back in control of Milan, so Leonardo needs to get out of town until the dust settles.
“The sun does not move,” wrote Leonardo in 1510, well before Copernicus and Galileo.
In the early 1500,s Leonardo spent a lot of effort trying to figure out why liquids sometimes flow upwards instead of downwards and studying fossils, 300 years ahead of the field.