Hi everybody !

Come back to you. Well, today, just a focus on Leonardo Da Vinci. It was really a genius and I discovered his life, works (oeuvres), songs and films linked to him on the scope of (dans le cadre) preparation for the TV quizz “Who wants to take his/her seat?”.

Several good websites on this subject to mention:






- (La Cène)





Some books:

-    La Civilisation de la Renaissance en Italie – Jacob Burkhardt – Librairie Générale Française – 1986

- Les peintres italiens de la Renaissance – Bernard Berenson – Ed. de la Pléaiade – 1953

- Les Carnets de Léonard de Vinci – Gallimard – 1989

- Traité de peinture, Léonard de Vinci – Berger-Levrault – 1987

- Vies d’artistes – Giorgio Vasari – Gallimard – 2002

- Léonard de Vinci – Serge Bramly – Lattès – 2003

- Pensez comme Léonard de Vinci : soyez créatif et imaginatif – Michael J. Gelb – Ed. de l’Homme – 2004

- Léonard de Vinci, 1452-1519 : tout l’œuvre peint et graphique – Frank Zöllner & Johnaes Nathan – Taschen 2003


His life(1452-1519)

Leonardo was born in 1452 in a village in Toscane, in Anchiano at 2 km from Vinci from ones and in Vinci for the others. He was the unlawful (illegitime) son of a notary (notaire) and a countrywoman (paysanne) called Catarina.

After the wedding of his mother, he lived in his father’s family and is considered by his new wife Donna Albiera Amadori as her own child. She died when Leonard had 13 years old.

When his new family moved to Florence, he joined the famous art workshop lead by Andrea del Verrochio and associated (cotoyer) with Sandro Botticelli, Perugin and Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Verrochio initiated him to prepare colours, to decoration, engraving (gravure), frecos’ painting and sculpture on marble (marbre) and bronze. Then, he was in charge of finishing paintings.

When he was 20, he took part into the Campagnia de Pittori, famous guilde of Florence artistic painters. His carreer started as he had the opportunity to paint “La Vierge a l’oeillet” or “L’annonciation”. He improved his technical skill in sfumato (misty impression) so that it was quite a perfection.

He left Verrochio in 1478 after mastering all the subjects better than his master and became an independant painter.

In 1481, San Donato monastery placed him an order for “L’adoration des mages”.  Nevertheless, Leonardo, offended not to be selected by Pope Sixte IV for Sixtine chapel in Vatican in Roma, on the opposite of his rival, Michel Angelo, he could never finished this painting anf left Florence to join Duke Ludovic Sforza in Milano.

This one let Leonardo dealt with various tasks: coordinate parties for weddings, create machineries for theater and paint some portraits. He also made researches on Martezana Channel.

In 1483, he painted one of the most admired masterpiece (chef d’oeuvre) “La Vierge aux rochers” for San Francesco Grande Chapel. He was also interested on other technical and military projects.

In 1490, he created his own Academy where he taught for several years.

In 1495, he painted the famous “La Cène” in Sainte-Marie-des-Grâces.

In 1501, he received a consecration for the first version of “La Vierge et Sainte Anne”, “La Joconde” and “La bataille d’Anghiari”.

In 1516, he worked for François I in France and lived in Clos Lucé closed to Amboise. The French King is fascintaed by Leonardo and considered him as a father.

Leonardo died in 1519 as he was 67. He bequeathed (leguer) his works, documents... to his favourite student, Francesco Melzi. In 1570, after Melzi’s death, two third of genuine (authentique) 50,000 documents from Leonardo are lost or disappeared.


So many things to say on Leonardo and his works. So, please refer you to the book “Leonardo Da Vinci for Dummies” – J. Teisch, T. Barr, A-C Grillot – First Editions, if you want to have further details.

  • LA JOCONDE: 1503-1506
  • Located in Paris in Le Louvre, it is the only painting to have its own room on the Museum. In accordance with an international agreement, it will never leave France. Leonardo really liked this painting so that he always brought it with him until François I discovered it. La Joconde is certainly Lisa Gherardini, wife of Franceso del Giocondo, silk merchant in Florenz. She was 24 when Leonard made her portrait. Mona comes from Monna or Madonna which means “lady”.

Really popular, this painting is a real inspiration source:

-          1914: opera called Mona Lisa by Max Von Schillings

-          1919: Marcel Duchamp added her a moustache and a goatee beard (bouc). The name of his creation is L.H.O.O.Q (she is hot)

-          1950: Nat King Cole sang “Mona Lisa”

-          1954: Sanvador Dali made his own portrait mixing Mona Lisa’s details with his own face and moustache

-          1963: Andy Warhol created a series of ‘serigraphie’ of La Joconde

-          1999: The New Yorker represented Monica Lewinski in La Joconde

-          2000: Eric Harshbarger created Mona Lisa in legos (30,000 pieces)

-          2003: “Le Sourire de La Joconde” with Julia Roberts – Good film! I recommend it to you!

  • LA CENE : 1495-1497 Immediate success but quick damage. So many articles on this subject on the famous controversy about Marie-Madeleine.

  • CARTON DE LA BURLINGTON HOUSE : 1499-1500 Rough sketch (ebauche) of Jesus, Marie, Sainte Anne and Jean-Baptiste.

  • LA VIERGE, L’ENFANT JESUS ET SAINTE ANNE : 1508-1510 Oil painting extremely realistic and new for this period !

  • L’ADORATION DES MAGES: 1481-1482 One of the most famous in the world.

  • LA VIERGE AUX ROCHERS: 1st version in 1483-1486 / 2nd version in 1495-1508 The first version is in Le Louvre in Paris, the second in National Gallery in London.

  • SAINT-JEROME: 1480-1483 It is the most tragic work of Leonardo as he painted it at a difficult period of his life.

  • LA DAME A L’HERMINE: 1482-1483 It represents maybe the wife or mistress from Ludovic Sforza. It is so unique!

  • SAINT JEAN-BAPTISTE: 1513-1516 A revolutionary painting in the sixteenth century!

  • GINEVRA BENCI: 1474 One of his first work when he was a student at Verrochio’s workshop. It is at National Gallery in Washington.

Well, that is all for today as Da Vinci Code will be the subject of another article. Promise!

Enjoy this week-end!

With best wishes,


PS: If you want to test your knowledges on Leonard, you can go to quizzes (In french) on