Leonardo da Vinci

Apprenticeship: 1467-1476

Summary Apprenticeship: 1467-1476

Commentary

Leonardo's career had a strong start. His master was renowned throughout Florence and had in the Medici family the greatest patrons of the Renaissance. From Verrocchio, Leonardo acquired a tendency to paint curly bunched hair, to create triangular compositions, and to paint girlish, stylized faces. As he matured, many of these learned habits wore off and Leonardo's own style matured. Even while he was an apprentice, his own style showed through. An x-ray of Verrocchio's Baptism reveals that Leonardo's brushstrokes are much lighter than those of his master, and it is obvious to the naked eye that he was the greater talent.

There is no indication of any conflict between the methodical master Verrocchio and his genius dilettante pupil. Despite Leonardo's inability to finish many of his projects, he seems to have been capable of great discipline, as evidenced by his ability to teach himself Latin and to cut open cadavers to learn about anatomy. He was probably a good pupil.

As a boy from the countryside, Leonardo must have been in awe of the city of Florence. While his artistic talents probably matched those of any of his contemporaries, he was not as sophisticated, and his love of luxury and fine clothes later in life is perhaps a result of the envy he felt as a Florentine youth of small means.

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