Leonardo da Vinci, one of the greatest thinkers in the world, began his career as an artist. Very little is known about Leonardo’s early life. He was born in 1452 in the town of Vinci. As a boy, Leonardo showed a great interest in drawing, sculpting and observing nature.
However, because Leonardo was born to parents who were not married to each other, he was barred from some studies and professions. He trained as an artist after moving to Florence with his father in the 1460s. It was an exciting time to be in Florence, one of the cultural capitals of Europe. Leonardo trained with one of the city’s very successful artists, Andrea del Verrocchio. He was a painter, sculptor and gold worker. Verrocchio told his students that they needed to understand the body’s bones and muscles when drawing people.
Leonardo took the teacher’s advice very seriously. He spent several periods of his life studying the human body by taking apart and examining dead bodies. While training as an artist, Leonardo also learned about and improved on relatively new painting methods at the time. One was the use of perspective(透视) to show depth. A method called “sfumato” helped to create a cloudy effect to suggest distance. “Chiaroscuro” is a method using light and shade as a painterly effect.