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  • Writer's pictureVan Weyenbergh Fine Art

Leonardo da Vinci, 5 most important works

Mona Lisa

It is undeniably the most famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci, but also of the world. It is the many mysteries that continue to hang over the Mona Lisa, or Portrait of Mona Lisa, that have gradually fueled the myth that surrounds it. Was she a man? Is she smiling? Why does she seem to look us in the eye? What does his posture mean?

There are many theories that analyze and interpret this painting, the extraordinary technique of which continues to fascinate experts. Leonardo da Vinci would have painted the canvas on his finger, making brush strokes almost impossible to detect. The Mona Lisa attracts millions of visitors every year to the Louvre.

A section in virtual reality is dedicated to the Mona Lisa, in an attempt to explain the mysteries as well as possible.

The Lord's Supper

It was the Milanese duke Ludovic Sforza who commissioned Leonardo da Vinci to paint this fresco depicting the last supper of Jesus Christ, who made him famous. Started around 1495 and completed around 1498, The Last Supper is famous for its original technique for a fresco of the time, the use of dry paint on several preparatory layers usually left damp, which has weakened the work since many times restored.

The realism and pronounced character of the personages, a perspective similar to trompe l'oeil that places the main vanishing point directly on the face of Christ, have raised many mysteries about the possible hidden meanings of this fresco, which, like many other works by Leonardo da Vinci , is among the most famous in the world.

Vitruvian man

Made around 1490 after the treaty of ancient architecture by the Roman architect Vitruve, this drawing, the most famous of Leonardo da Vinci, represents the ideal proportions of the human body. Based on the writings of Vitruvius, he places the body of the man in a circle and in a square of which the navel and the genitals constitute the centers, and composes his body in the following way:

Four fingers make a palm, and four palms make one foot, six palms make an elbow: four elbows are the height of a man. And four elbows make a double step, and twenty-four palms make a man. Symbol of humanism and the Renaissance, it links the many sciences studied by Leonardo da Vinci at the time and testifies to the artist's obsession with perfect human representation in art.

Saint Jean Baptist

The painting dated between 1513 and 1516, kept in the painting department of the Louvre Museum, is said to have been acquired by Louis XIV in 1662. It represents Saint John the Baptist in the dark, dressed in an animal skin, a crucifix in the left hand and right hand facing the sky. As with Mona Lisa and many of his other paintings, de Vinci used the sfumato technique to apply a very fine layer of paint, giving the canvas a vibrant effect. The subject of many interpretations, Saint John the Baptist, would embody both the creation, the saint's spirituality, and the invitation to faith. It underwent a significant restoration in 2016.

The Virgin of the Rocks

Sponsored by the Milanese lay brotherhood of the Immaculate Conception and produced between 1483 and 1508, The Virgin of the Rock, also called The Virgin, Baby Jesus, Saint John the Baptist and an Angel, represents the meeting between Jesus of Nazareth and John the Baptist. Made in two different versions, the first between 1483 and 1486, and the second between 1491 and 1508, only the first version, exhibited at the Louvre, can be attributed with certainty to Leonardo da Vinci. As with other of his paintings, the second version could be attributed to a third party under the direction of the master, here the painter Giovanni Ambrogio de Predis. The techniques used for the color and the light, more neutral and more nuanced than wanted then the tradition, made a revolutionary work of it by the dark and intimate atmosphere which it releases. Vogue Paris article

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