What Leonardo da Vinci Really Looked Like

Leonar­do da Vin­ci (1452 – 1519) paint­ed arguably the world’s most famous por­trait – the Mona Lisa. But rather iron­i­cal­ly, we have nev­er seen a por­trait of the artist him­self. Per­haps until now… Speak­ing at TED, Siegfried Wold­hek shows what he believes is the true face of da Vin­ci. It’s all pret­ty spec­u­la­tive, but it may be right.

via @brainpicker

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Comments (7)
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  • DerriLynnee says:

    Leonar­do DaVin­ci was said to be very good look­ing.

    This is said by one of DaVin­ci’s con­tem­po­raries of his phys­i­cal appear­ance after his meet­ing DaVin­ci in Pavia: “He was very attrac­tive. Well-pro­por­tioned, grace­ful, and good look­ing. He wore a short rose-pink tunic, knee length at a time when most peo­ple wore long gowns. He had beau­ti­ful curl­ing hair, care­ful­ly styled, which came down to the mid­dle of his chest.”

    Accord­ing to Gior­gio Vasari, of his phys­i­cal appear­ance: “In the nor­mal course of events many men and women are born with var­i­ous remark­able qual­i­ties and tal­ents; but occa­sion­al­ly, in a way that tran­scends nature, a sin­gle per­son is mar­vel­lous­ly endowed by heav­en with beau­ty, grace and tal­ent in such abun­dance that he leaves oth­er men far behind… Every­one acknowl­edged that this was true of Leonar­do da Vin­ci, an artist of out­stand­ing phys­i­cal beau­ty who dis­played infi­nite grace in every­thing he did and who cul­ti­vat­ed his genius so bril­liant­ly that all prob­lems he stud­ied were solved with ease. He pos­sessed great strength and dex­ter­i­ty; he was a man of regal spir­it and tremen­dous breadth of mind…” from wikipedia. — think Vig­go Mortensen!!!-

    Unlike what most peo­ple are told, DaVin­ci was paint­ed MANY times by his stu­dents, & con­tem­po­raries in Reli­gious Art! His face was “lent” repeat­ed­ly to Christ, God, St. John the Bap­tist, St. Roch, St. Nicholas, and St. Ambrose, and oth­ers. — He was very good look­ing. In the many reli­gious paint­ings by Bernardi­no Lui­ni, he uses the face of his friend and teacher, Leonar­do DaVin­ci. He is hon­ored and immor­tal­ized as Christ, or St. Joseph, and more Catholic saints. This is a fact, but it is not well known.

    If you want to see DaVin­ci’s face — look at the works of Bernardi­no Lui­ni and the works of DaVin­ci’s stu­dents!

    Maybe one day this will become com­mon knowl­edge… again. But, maybe not — peo­ple want Da Vin­ci to be an athi­et and not to have remained in the Catholic tra­di­tion and cul­ture, of which there is absolute­ly no proof and it is high­ly unlikey since he died in 1519, before the Ref­or­ma­tion. (I am not Catholic to say this)

  • Muffin says:

    Leonar­do da Vin­ci is said to look very hand­some.

  • Nick says:

    What a strange and rather hate­ful com­ment to wish Da Vin­ci to be non-Catholic. Every­thing about his life and his work was linked to his faith. In fact if you know your ref­or­ma­tion his­to­ry, they were icon­o­clasts — they not only did not val­ue reli­gious art­work but often destroyed it as can still be seen in Eng­land and Ger­many. I would­n’t wish that on any artist.

  • Maya Schiller says:

    I would like to say that Vasari could be some­what ten­den­tious. I’m not very sure if he was able to sep­a­rate the fig­ure of the artist from that of the man.

    The only point I’m quite sure is that there’s no point in dis­cussing Da Vin­ci’s reli­gious beliefs. Every­body know how reli­gious themes was impor­tant in renais­sance. Great, noble, impor­tant men and women was often rep­re­sent­ed as Christ, Saints, The Vir­gin. If he was Bud­dhist, he prob­a­bly would be rep­re­sent­ed in these same ways. Every­body had a great admi­ra­tion for him, so twas quite nor­mal to see his face on oth­ers painters works.

  • Tony says:

    Thank you for this. I did­n’t know Leonar­do da Vin­ci looked that good. I mean I thought he looked like the Russ­ian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev who was report­ed to take a bath only on his birth­days.

  • DX says:

    I don’t real­ly see a lot if sim­i­lar­i­ty between the var­i­ous por­traits. The speak­er mere­ly claims that they are sim­i­lar. Plus the issue is more com­pli­cat­ed than the speak­er is describ­ing; it is pos­si­ble that Da Vin­ci (like oth­er artists) used his own like­ness as a base but then made sig­nif­i­cant changes to it to fit his whim. I don’t think we can sim­ply say that a por­trait “is” or “is not” Da Vin­ci.

  • DX says:

    Plus that last por­trait is too old and wrinkly to be only 63. More like 73 or even old­er.

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