Leonardo da Vinci

Leonardo was born on April 15, 1452 in Vinci, Italy. Considered one of the great masters of the High Renaissance, he made a name for himself as a painter, sculptor, architect, and scientist. His innovations in the field of painting influenced the course of Italian art for more than a century after his death. Leonardo painted several portraits during his lifetime but only the Mona Lisa survived. One of the most celebrated paintings ever, it is a portrait of the wife of Francesco del Giocondo. This figure of a Florentine woman is a remarkable instance of sfumato which is the technique of soft, heavily shaded modeling. It is currently being exhibited at the Musee du Louvre, Paris.