There are very few artists who have had an affect on the art-world (and society) as much as Leonardo da Vinci. But Da Vinci only completed 6 major paintings during his life. Despite this, he had a full life-long career as an artist. He was a true innovator in his time, creating thousands of sketches on anatomy, inventions, and more.
There is a lot that modern day artists can learn from Leonardo’s life and art career. We can look at his work and life, and learn how to apply certain lessons in our own art.
Lessons Internet Artists can Learn from Leonardo da Vinci Paintings, Sketches, Drawings, and his Life
- Leonardo da Vinci was a true innovator who tried many things.
He was a painter, sculptor, and inventor, a true renaissance man way ahead of his time. Leonardo designed all sorts of contraptions, such as flying machines, tanks, weapons of war, and more. He thought “outside the box” and designed things based on what he learned about physics and science – things that were unheard of in his day.
Just like Leonardo, modern internet artists have to be innovators and think on many different levels, not just about art. They should know some things about social networking, internet marketing, website design, SEO, photographing art, gallery representation, and more. Artists have to learn a lot of different things in order to get ahead. But, we do have a huge advantage today… the internet!
- Leonardo da Vinci was dedicated to his art.
Leonardo da Vinci spent 4 years painting the Mona Lisa, with 30 layers of paint. He passed away May 2, 1519 with the Mona Lisa still in his possession. He gave everything to whatever he created. He did not consider something finished till it was absolutely perfect.
Of course, artists do not HAVE to be perfectionists like Leonardo, but his level of dedication is something all artists should be inspired by. These days it is so easy to be caught up in producing artwork that is incomplete just to sell more. There is nothing wrong with producing lots of art of course, especially to increase notoriety and make money. But, in the end most of these artworks will not be remembered by anyone, except for the owner.
It is the perfected pieces that will be remembered and stand the test of time. Leonardo da Vinci knew this, which is why he poured so much of his life into artworks such as The Last Supper and the Mona Lisa.
- Leonardo da Vinci sketched and explored his ideas.
Leonardo Da Vinci sketched all his drawing ideas on paper. He had over 13000 drawings, most of them with notes in the margins. He used sketching as a way of documenting his ideas, and to think of new ones. In his anatomical studies, he often drew several sketches instead of just one. He explored any idea deeply BEFORE even painting it onto canvas. Most of his ideas never even made it to paintings.
Sketching and idea exploration is an essential step in the creation process. Although creativity can indeed come without preparation, Leonardo’s method of deeply exploring every subject should be an inspiration for us. It is one of the major reasons for his success – and for being so revered today.
- Leonardo da Vinci loved collaboration and feed back.
Leonardo da Vinci collaborated on many pieces, the most famous of which is The Baptism of Christ, which he painted along with Verrocchio. Leonardo had an artists workshop where he had art apprentices and assistants. He sometimes instructed them to paint certain parts of his compositions. This practice was common at the time.
Andy Warhol’s Factory and his collaboration of Superstars is a modern day version of this long held practice.
Emerging artists can learn much from working with other artists and learning from contemporaries. Two or more creative minds are better than one.
Today, artists do not have to work with an actual anatomist (or dissect corpses as Leonardo did) or even go to school to learn art. We have the advantage of the internet, where we can learn just about anything in just a few mouse clicks.
There are several anatomy websites, as well as free art courses on the internet. But, even more valuable than that are the thousands of inspiring artists online. One of the best ways for artists to learn about art is by looking at other artists – this is a major function of art school.
As you can see from this article, there is much we as artists can learn from master artists like Leonardo da Vinci, not only from their art, but their life.
Thanks for this wonderful post, APM! Leonardo is one of my all-time great heroes. I remember clearly how I was laughed at when at Art College we were asked to identify our favorite artist(s). All the other cool kids chimed in with their (usually American) modern masters...deKooning, Pollock, Man Ray, Rothko and that ilk. Now, some 35 years later, Leonardo remains a great hero to me. My only criticism is that he was TOO much of a genius and lacked a central focus in his life. He was a life-long dabbler who spent too much of his precious time pleasing the aristocracy with his war machines and the like. It is a real pity that he could not have remained dedicated to fewer career choices so he could have produced a more substantial body of his own personal artwork. While I realize of course that he was and still is the epitome of the 'Renaissance Man', for my own selfish reasons I would sure have loved it if he had stuck more to painting. It's just that I want to see more from his hand.ReplyDelete
P.S. : I found an old book with color slides (from the originals) of all of his attributed paintings...they are magnificent photos!
I totally agree. That is why I love teaching my "Paint a Masterpiece" class which takes students from never having held a paint brush to completing a copy of a master work in one day. I'm continually awestruck by what can be produced by the students in such a short period of time because they are following in the footsteps of giants. We haven't attempted a Leonardo as yet but Monet is a great favourite. Given such early inspiration most of my students go on to produce amazing works in their own right!ReplyDelete
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