The Last Supper, 1495–98, by Leonardo da Vinci, mural, at the Convent of Santa Maria delle Grazie, Milan
It would be hard to challenge the often-repeated claim that Leonardo da Vinci is perhaps the most diversely talented individual ever to have lived. Even to describe him as the prime example of the “Renaissance man” seems to fall woefully short for an expert in invention, sculpture, architecture, painting, science, music, engineering, anatomy, and astronomy—a list that only scratches the surface of the famed polymath.
On the 500th anniversary of his death, art historian Aneta Georgievska Shine highlights some of the most remarkable aspects of his life, work, and creative thinking.
9:30–10:45 a.m. The Making of the Artist
Leonardo’s artistic and intellectual development as shaped by the broader context of Renaissance Florence and his study with Andrea del Verrocchio.
11 a.m.–12:15 p.m. The Idea of the Divine
Leonardo as a painter of sacred subjects: the Holy Family, St. John the Baptist, the Last Supper, and the unfinished Adoration of the Magi.
12:15–1:15 p.m. Lunch (participants provide their own.)
1:15–2:15 p.m. Mastering the Universe: From Microcosm to Macrocosm
At the basis of Leonardo’s artistic enterprise was a desire to understand the motions of the universe, from the most delicate of creations such as flower petals to the most formidable manifestations of nature’s power.
2:30–4 p.m. Leonardo’s Mysteries
Despite Leonardo’s fame, many of his greatest masterpieces, such as The Lady with the Ermine and Mona Lisa, remain full of unanswered questions. This is even truer of paintings that have occasionally surfaced in the art world whose attribution remains a subject of scholarly debate, such as La Bella Principessa and Salvator Mundi.
World Art History Certificate elective: Earn 1 credit
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Metro: Smithsonian (Mall exit)