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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