Leonardo da Vinci

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Student Question

In what ways was Leonardo da Vinci experimental with his artwork?

Quick answer:

Leonardo da Vinci was experimental with his artwork because he had a keen interest in science and nature, which can be clearly seen in his work.

Expert Answers

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Leonardo da Vinci was indeed very experimental with his artwork, as he did not shy away from breaking with the traditions of his time. The best way to illustrate this to you is to invite you to look more closely at what probably constitutes his most famous piece of art: the Mona Lisa. The first thing to point out about this painting is the fact that Leonardo da Vinci painted it on an unusual surface: he used cottonwood panelling. Art historians believe that this is the reason why the painting has survived so much better over the years than other paintings of its time.

Another reason why you could use the Mona Lisa in order to discover how Leonardo da Vinci was ahead of his time is the fact that the woman in the painting looks very much like a human, almost like a photograph. For example, we can clearly see emotional expression when looking at the painting. Her famous smile is what makes her stand out: Leonardo da Vinci was not only an artist, but also a scientist, and therefore he was interested in the human body. As a result, his art is very much focused on displaying humans as realistically as possible.

Another example of Leonardo da Vinci's interest in human anatomy, which makes his art experimental compared to the work of his contemporaries, is his drawing "The Vitruvian Man." This anatomically inspired drawing clearly links Leonardo da Vinci's skills of drawing with his scientific interests, as he tried to demonstrate human proportions through this drawing.

The key thing to point out, in order to answer your question, is that, unlike many of his fellow citizens, Leonardo da Vinci refused to believe that nature was simply ruled by God. Instead, he tried to learn about the laws of nature. This scientific influence is what makes his artwork so revolutionary and experimental.

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