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~ The Spotlight Series ~

Leonardo da Vinci : An Italian Genius in France



90 minutes


After this seminar, you'll know all there is to know about : The Life of Leonardo da Vinci, the Italian Renaissance, the Mona Lisa, Renaissance portraits, King Francis I.

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Leonardo da Vinci : A great scientist, engineer, architect, philosopher, painter, sculptor, and theoretician, he was greatly respected among his peers and worked for some of the most powerful kings and princes of his time. The Musée du Louvre has an extensive collection of his works, spanning each stage of his life and following the development of his work from young apprentice in Florence to court painter for the king in France.  Discover Leonardo's greatest masterpieces at the Louvre and unravel the secrets of his life's work, from his early years in Florence and Milan, to his last years in France at the court of King Francis 1st.


Early Years in Florence

To begin with, we will explore the early stages of his career as an apprentice under Andrea del Verrocchio and later under the service of Duke Ludovico Sforza in Milan. We will look at what some art historians claim to be his first ever painting – The Annunciation – and take a close look at the Virgin on the Rocks and the Belle Ferronnière, two of his greatest masterpieces from his first period in Milan.


Maturity in Florence

Next, we will continue on to Leonardo’s mature years as a fully established artist, and his travels throughout Italy in the early 1500’s. Explore his work dating from his return to Florence in 1503, and delve into an in-depth study of the Mona Lisa, discovering the secrets of this iconic female portrait. We’ll then continue through da Vinci’s old age and last years in France under the patronage of King Francis 1st, during which time he completed the Saint John the Baptist and the Holy Family, among others.


Milan and France

After having explored the great master’s biography and having followed his footsteps from Florence to Milan, Rome, and Mantua, through to his final resting place in France, we will dive in a little deeper and take one last look at his complete works at the Louvre. We’ll examine the evolution of his artistic style and discuss some of his most important contributions to the technique and trade of the visual artist : the invention of « sfumato », the development of the three-quarter portrait, the psychological depth in portrait painting, just to name a few.


Leonardo’s impact on the visual arts was profound, and his impact on artists was to be felt for many generations to come. The Louvre holds an exceptionally wide and varied collection of his work, and holds the key to unlocking the mystery behind this fascinating figure of Renaissance Art History.

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